San Joaquin Fair officials are going a mile a minute to schedule acts and concessions for the Stockton fair now that they know that the fair will be held June 16-20.
Even though they were anxious to plan this year's fair since it is its 150th anniversary, CEO Debbie Cook and the board of directors didn't find out the 2010 dates until Friday because it took that long for the California Horse Racing Fair board to determine the dates for each county fair's horse racing calendar in Northern California.
Fair organizers normally know the dates several months earlier, Cook said, but state horse racing regulators were busy fielding requests to consolidate the racing locations.
It's important to know the racing dates for many reasons — booking celebrity concerts and smaller entertainment, arranging food concession and commercial exhibits.
Livestock exhibitors need to know the dates early because many of them take vacation from their jobs during fair time, Cook said.
In addition to arranging for this year's fair, Cook is looking at losing significant revenue due to the reduced horse racing calendar.
The Stockton fair has had 10 days of horse racing for many years, but it was reduced to nine days three years ago because there aren't as many race horses as there used to be, Cook said.
Now it's down to five, which is significant because it's the horse wagering that subsidizes the big-name entertainment that comes to Stockton each year. It also pays for overhead unrelated to the race track, Cook said.
Although Stockton will lose revenue because of the loss of four horse racing dates, it will get reimbursed by the fairs in Northern California that still have horse racing — the Alameda, Sonoma and Humboldt county fairs, the Big Fresno Fair and California State Fair. The question is how much.
San Joaquin Fair board member Mitch Slater, of Lodi, said he's heard it's in the $200,000 range.
"We project that we lost that much (by having racing days reduced)," Slater said.
How much San Joaquin Fair is reimbursed may be decided at a meeting of the Live Racing Committee in early February, Cook said.
Stockton and Vallejo may also get a portion of the 1 percent commission the California Division of Fairs and Expositions gets from horse betting revenue, Slater said.
The Live Racing Committee, a subcommittee of the California Authority of Racing Fairs, consists of Cook and the fair managers in Alameda, Sonoma, Humboldt, Solano and Fresno counties, and the California State Fair. The Solano County Fair in Vallejo has eliminated horse racing, and it will get a reimbursement as well as Stockton.
San Joaquin Fair at a glanceWhen: June 16-20.
Horse racing: Same days.
Location: 1658 S. Airport Drive, Stockton.
Entertainment: To be announced.
Information: 466-5041, www.sanjoaquinfair.com.
Source: San Joaquin Fair