The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor of California
1303 10th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Via email


Dear Governor Newsom:

The Del Mar Fairgrounds is a crown jewel of San Diego County, featuring the beloved and iconic San Diego County Fair, which has cultivated civic pride since it began in 1880. The Fairgrounds plays an integral role in the prosperity of the region, generating $680 million in economic impact and nearly 4,000 full-time-equivalent jobs.

Without your help to secure immediate emergency funding, this historic landmark could face potential closure, leaving a lasting community void in our region. Please help.

Although the Fairgrounds is owned by the State of California and run by the 22nd District Agricultural Association, all of its operations are entirely self-funded. The facility relies on event revenues to operate and does not receive any assistance from the State of California’s general fund. With the postponement or cancellation of all events over the past 3+ months, including the 2020 San Diego County Fair due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Del Mar Fairgrounds’ revenue streams have been severely depleted.

The Fairgrounds and its Board of Directors have requested $20 million from the State of California for critical emergency funding support. They are also actively pursuing funding options on the city, county and federal levels. They need your help to make this happen.

In addition to being an entertainment mecca during the San Diego County Fair, the horse racing season and 300+ annual events, the Fairgrounds also plays an integral role in emergency response for the region. During the wildfires of 2017, 2014, 2007 and 2003, the Fairgrounds served as an emergency evacuation site for large animals, providing safe shelter to thousands of animals during the community’s great times of need. As an example, during the 2007 fires, the Fairgrounds provided a safe haven to 2,300+ horses and livestock as well as 2,000+ human evacuees. It is vital that this crucial resource be preserved for future generations.

I have been involved with the Fairgrounds for decades. Currently, it is my honor to serve as the Chairman of the Don Diego Scholarship Foundation. In existence since 1986, the Foundation awards scholarships to deserving San Diego area graduating

high school seniors associated with activities at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, including the San Diego County Fair. The Foundation Board includes members of the 22nd District Agricultural Association board members. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded $1 million plus dollars to 257 students; it would be a shame to not have it in existence for deserving students. Do not let this happen.

Until it is safe to host events again, the Del Mar Fairgrounds does not have the ability to create the necessary revenue it needs to survive. This is why your immediate support is so crucial. Please take a stand and be an advocate for our beloved Fairgrounds.


Juanita C. Hayes