San Rafael, CA – For an unprecedented sixth time, the Marin County Fair has won the Merrill Award, the most prestigious and coveted award by the Western Fairs Association (WFA), solidifying the event’s national reputation for excellence and innovation.
The fair was honored for its theme that promoted equity, diversity and inclusion.
The 2018 fair, All for One & Fun for All!,
captured award at the WFA Annual Industry Awards Celebration on January 23 in Reno, Nevada, for its theme of equity, diversity, and inclusion. The Marin County Fair also won 34 individual achievement awards, more than any other fair.
The WFA, a 150-member trade association representing fairs in the western United States and Canada, recognizes excellence in the fair industry at its convention and provides a forum for fairs to share successful ideas and programs. The Merrill Award, named in honor of WFA founder Louis Merrill, is given to fairs that clearly demonstrate innovation, vision, and excellence.
“At the Marin County Fair, we don’t care what your country of origin is, what color skin you have, what your religious or political beliefs are, we care about creating a safe space for everyone to leave their worries behind and have fun,” said Director of Cultural Services Gabriella C. Calicchio. “The All for One & Fun for All! theme was developed in response to and recognition of the growing diversity in our community. From creating global programming and diversifying the judging panels to translating the fair website into six languages and partnering with Out at the Fair to celebrate the LGBTQ community, the Marin County Fair truly celebrates everyone in our community and beyond.”
The 2018 Marin County Fair also won both WFA Featured Awards for Cultural Marketing Strategy and new Cultural Program that supported the All for One & Fun for All! theme. In addition, the fair garnered 21 First Place awards, seven Second Place awards and six Third Place awards. Awards included accolades for agriculture programming, virtual reality, interim events (80 Over 80 art exhibit at the Bartolini Gallery), fair radio advertising in Spanish and English, and fair sponsorships just to name a few.
“We’re tremendously proud that our fair won the Merrill Award this year for cultural programming and more awards overall than any other fair in the entire competition,” said Fair Manager Charlie Barboni. “We work hard all year to ensure our fair not only stands out in the industry but also reflects the values, innovation, and dedication of our own community.”
The 78th annual Marin County Fair, themed Over the Moon!, will be held July 3-7, 2019. Visit marinfair.org for more information.
2018 Marin County Fair Award-Winning Entries from the Western Fairs Association:
Featured Program Awards
First Place, Outstanding Achievement – Cultural Marketing Campaign
First Place, Outstanding Achievement – New Cultural Program
Individual Achievement Awards
New Cultural Program – All for One & Fun for All!
Cultural Marketing Campaign – All for One & Fun for All!
Any Other Advertising – Marinfair.org translated into six languages
Give it Your Best Shot – Animals
Crisis Management (possibility of Marin County employees strike)
Radio Advertising – series (English and Spanish)
Radio Advertising – single ad
Outdoor Advertising – Bus Backs/Bus Stops/Freeway Billboard
Special Event Logo – Arts Culture Action Marin
New Community Outreach Program – Out at the Fair (celebrating the LGBTQ+ community)
New Exhibits Competition – All for One & Fun for All! theme contests
New Event, Exhibit, or Program – Virtual Forest (virtual reality)
New Sponsorship Program – Mezzetta Blue Ribbon Stage
New Innovative Use of Technology – FilmFreeway (international film and video entries)
Interim Events – 80 Over 80 Exhibit (juried exhibit showcasing artworks by artists over the age of 80)
Printed Marketing Campaign – newspaper and magazine ads
Social Media Campaign
Television Advertising – series
Digital Marketing Campaign
Television Advertising – single ad
Nonprofits – Marin Cultural Association Wine & Beer Garden
Theme program – All for One & Fun for All!
New Children’s Program – Youth Poster Contest
Guest Services – Marinfair.org (mobile compatible website)
Event Within an Event – Global Stage
Interim Event Rental Innovative Marketing Strategy – monthly email newsletter
Year-Round Logo – Marin County Fair
Give it Your Best Shot – Carnival
Inspiring Collaboration – Extrafood.org partnership
Fair time Innovative Marketing Strategy – partnership with County of Marin Leadership Academy for Marin County demographic study
Fair Pocket Program/Schedule
Fair time Commemorative Poster