Big Fresno Fair John Alkire

When: Thursday, Sep 22, 2016, 12:15PM - 1:30PM

5080 North Blackstone Avenue, Fresno, CA 93711

Big Fresno Fair John Alkire

John Alkire grew up in Bakersfield, CA, where he and his family raised quarter horses and was involved in the purebred and the commercial livestock industry.  He graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science.

Prior to working at The Big Fresno Fair, John worked at the Kings County, Tulare County and The California Mid-State Fair.  His journey to The Big Fresno Fair began as a child as he grew up in a “fair family”.  His father served as a fair CEO and consultant for more than 25 years.  John has since continued that tradition with a lifelong interest in agriculture and livestock and a 30-year career in the industry.  John has spent 11 of those years as CEO of The Big Fresno Fair, coming here from the Mid-State Fair in February 2004. 

John describes his career as the CEO of The Big Fresno Fair as being, “truly exciting and rewarding to be associated with a great team of professionals at The Big Fresno Fair.  I firmly believe that you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with and I’m blessed with many talented people here at the 21st District Agricultural Association.” 

In January 2010, John became the 77th member inducted into the Western Fairs Association Hall of Fame, an honor given for his outstanding contribution to the fair industry. “During his career John Alkire has positively affected every fair he’s been involved with. “He’s greatly impacted and benefited the fair industry as a whole with his innovative spirit and drive,” said Stephen Chambers, Executive Director of Western Fairs Association. “He has helped transform the image and landscape of The Big Fresno Fair and has shared his innovative ideas with other CEOs, Fair Managers and staff so that they can try and implement those concepts at their respective fairs.” Just this year, John became one of the few CEOs to have his fair receive three Merrill Awards – the fair industry’s top honors. The first award was received in 2007 for the Pirates in the Park attraction and the second award in 2011 Fair’s annual “Feed the Need” Community Food Drive benefiting The Salvation Army and Community Food Bank. Then in 2015, the Fair was awarded its third Merrill Award for The Big Fresno Fair Museum and the documentary-style Heritage Talks video. John was the catalyst in making the Museum concept not only a reality, but a resounding success! 

Throughout John’s fair career, his affiliations to groups and organizations have included serving as past

President of the Western Fairs Association, being an active member of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions, serving on the advisory boards of two Secretaries of Agriculture for the State of California and is now currently serving on the Board of Directors for the California Authority of Racing Fairs. In December

2008, John was named as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the California Authority of Racing Fairs (CARF). John is on the Board of the Fresno/Clovis Convention & Visitors Bureau and serves as the Secretary/Treasurer, as well as Chair for the Finance Committee.

John has accomplished many goals for The Big Fresno Fair in the past 11 years, but he continues to strive to make the Fairgrounds a little better each year.  Last year, 666,621 people enjoyed The Big Fresno Fair’s tradition of food, family and entertainment – the highest fair attendance since 1991, when it was a 16-day fair! 

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