A fond farewell to the fairgrounds
I started working at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in 1999. It was a part-time job. I was 42 years old. Working with much younger men was a challenge in itself, but coming out of major back surgery was the real challenge.
I was determined to work as hard as them, if not harder. During the five days of the fair, I was assigned to the water truck duty, midnight to noon. We went from day shift to night shift in just a few hours — ugh! The water truck was an old Chevy fuel truck converted to a water truck. I remember the constant hum of the engine and the heater you couldn’t shut off, making it difficult to stay awake. I never hit anything — I’m super glad of that!
Summer came and went, and we all said goodbye.
In the spring of 2000 I decided to again apply for a summer job. I was rehired for the summer and given explicit instructions that there was no full-time position. I was given a full-time position in June of 2000. Hard work does pay off!
I started working on revamping the trash crew to make it a little more manageable. I became the first “fairground attendant” at the Nevada County Fairgrounds. In 2003, the then-senior maintenance worker decided to retire two weeks before the fair! Wow! I had only been there two years and all eyes were on me to put the grounds together. I remember running a 103-degree temperature the entire fair.
Right after the Draft Horse Classic that same year, the other maintenance worker retired. I was suddenly the only guy working outside the office. I became senior maintenance in 2004. My first project was rebuilding the bathroom at the end of Gold Path. We then re-concreted Treat Street and added new gas and water lines.
Ed Scofield retired in 2007 and Sandy Woods became the CEO. We started working on the new Hog Barn at the Whitney Pavilion. In trying to deal with the traffic situation, we worked with the county to put the turn lane on McCourtney Road, revamped the then-senior center into the Ponderosa Hall wedding facility.
It took a couple of years to become grounded as the “senior maintenance,” but I started working with as many local businesses as I could to build a community environment. I believed then and still believe now that Nevada County is an amazing community. I chose to retire on Dec. 31, 2018 and would like to take this time to thank everyone who I worked with during my time at the fairgrounds.
I made so many friends that I feel like the luckiest man in Nevada County! I will miss the daily walkers and their dogs, the rush of “Fair time” and all the people. Working at the fairgrounds was a rewarding challenge. I want to thank my family, especially my wife, Donna, for understanding the incredibly long hours from a “moment’s notice” fire camps to evacuation center. The fair life also took a lot of hours.
Of course I didn’t do this all by myself. I had the privilege of working with some very amazing people, who turned out to become good friends. I want to thank all the local businesses for their ongoing support — unfortunately I can’t name them all here.
A very special thank to Kris Coenen, Joe Ferry, Doug Aday, Jeff Wasley, Ryan Larsen, Sandy Flores, Bill Mitchell and all the red shirts!
I want to thank all the Treat Street volunteers and nonprofits. Without their efforts, Treat Street wouldn’t exist. It is a very unique experience, not found anywhere else in the industry.
Thank you, Ed Scofield, for giving me the opportunity, and Sandy Woods for believing in me. Sandy Woods, Dianne Hawkswood, Pat Kress, Robin Hauck — I love you all! Thanks for the memories.
Tony Brock lives in Grass Valley.
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