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New manager has a heart for fairs

Pat Conklin, the new CEO of the Sonoma-Marin Fair, is thrilled with her new job and loves living in Petaluma

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 2, 2008 at 4:43 p.m.

Pat Conklin has been on the job as the new chief executive officer of the Sonoma-Marin Fair less than three months, but she already feels like she’s part of the community.

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Pat Conklin is the new CEO of the Sonoma-Marin Fair

Terry Hankins

Facts

AT A GLANCE

Name: Pat Conklin
Age: 44
Occupation: CEO of the Sonoma-Marin County Fair.
Family: Husband, two daughters ages 15 and 3; one dog, one cat and a frog.
Favorite Petaluma hangout: The fair and McNear’s restaurant.
Hobbies: Running.
Quote: “Petaluma is a city that feels like a small town,” said Conklin. “I like driving two minutes outside of town and finding myself in the middle of the country.”

“I’ve been welcomed with open arms and I’m thrilled to be here,” said Conklin, who took over in January from longtime CEO Tawny Tesconi, the new manager of the Sonoma County Fair.

“I love fairs,” she said. “They serve a valuable purpose to the community.”

In January, Conklin moved her family and pets from Gridley to the west side of Petaluma to begin her new job.

“I’m thrilled to be going to the Sonoma-Marin Fair because it’s always had a good reputation,” she said. “The area that encompasses the 4th District Agricultural Association is a wonderful location, with a great atmosphere. I especially like the team effort of the fair staff and their dedication to the community.”

Being the manager of a smaller fair enables Conklin to be more diverse in her job duties and work closely with the staff to create a strong team environment.

“It’s not about the job or the pay,” said Conklin. “It’s what the fair represents.”

Conklin and her family enjoy exploring Petaluma and getting to know their new home.

“Petaluma is a city that feels like a small town,” said Conklin. “I like driving two minutes outside of town and finding myself in the middle of the country.”

Conklin appreciates the rolling hills that surround Petaluma and its proximity to the ocean. She looks forward to enjoying the North Bay’s temperate summer weather.

“I love Petaluma,” said Conklin. “It’s a beautiful town filled with friendly people and unique architecture.”

Although Conklin spends a lot of time at the fairgrounds, she has discovered the joy of shopping at Whole Foods and takes her family to McNear’s restaurant for hamburgers.

In her limited spare time, Conklin enjoys running and spending time with her daughters and husband.

Conklin grew up in the agricultural area of Dixon just south of Sacramento. She was involved in fairs from an early age, participating in bake sales and submitting textiles to fair exhibits, including the annual California State Fair.

While studying agriculture at California State University at Chico, Conklin continued working and participating in fairs during her summer vacations.

From 1987 to 1994, Conklin served as the director for the 36th District Agricultural Association. Since 1998, she was the CEO for the Butte County Fair, a five-day fair that takes place every August in Gridley. Prior to her Butte County position, Conklin was the Solano County Fair exhibits supervisor for eight years and its deputy CEO for one year.

Conklin is also a member of both the Western Fairs Association Board and the State Rules Committee for the Division of Fairs and Expositions.

Conklin encourages all members of the community to participate in the fair. She firmly believes the fair is the people’s fair and if the community has any ideas or suggestions, they should let her know.

“Enter the fair,” said Conklin. “If you make it, we’ll take it. If you grow it, we will show it. Anyone can enter.”

(Contact Whitney Boggs at argus@arguscourier.com)

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