State Fair exhibit puts spotlight on Placer County

By: Staff Report
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Placer County’s exhibit at the 2008 California State Fair will take a whimsical look at what makes the county such a special place. The exhibit’s centerpiece is a 30-foot-tall tree with giant roots interspersed among large boulders. Under the tree’s branches, children are enjoying fishing and other outdoor pastimes. Inside, fair visitors who venture through entrances created by the tree’s roots will discover a magical world of gnomes. The exhibit’s highlights include more than 20 moving parts and lighting special effects, sounds of gnomes talking, a slideshow and peakaboo waterfall. The theme of this year’s exhibit is: “Imagine yourself in Placer County, an enchanting place to go, know and grow.” “I’m excited about this year’s exhibit because it’s unlike anything done before,” said Facility Services Deputy Director Joel Swift, the project’s coordinator in a news release. “We created a whimsical world of gnomes to let everyone know what an enchanting place Placer County is, and filled the exhibit with animated creatures, eye-catching scenery and other attention-grabbing attractions. Fair visitors will want to stay a little longer than usual at our highly interactive exhibit, because it is rich with information about Placer County, and visitors won’t want to miss anything.” The California State Fair is open through Monday, Sept. 1 at Cal Expo in Sacramento. Each year, most of the state’s counties create exhibits for display in the California Building. Placer County has a long tradition of creating outstanding State Fair exhibits. Since 1991, it has won at least five Golden Bears, the best of show awards that are the highest honor given by judges each year. Swift noted that the exhibits are a great tool for promoting Placer County to outsiders, and for reminding residents of the county’s many attractions. The 2008 exhibit takes a look at the county’s recreational, arts, agricultural and historical highlights. “It was a lot of fun to build, too, because building it truly was a team effort,” Swift said. Each year, the fair exhibit is created by a team of volunteers headed by the Facility Services Department. Jim McCrummen and Mike Rigney of Facility Services have supervised construction of the exhibit for at least 15 years. This year’s effort was aided by several interns, including gnome sculptor LeeAnna Strandberg, content writer Nathalie Rayter, Colfax High School artist Rachel Fritz and children sculptor Nikki Feil.