John Steffanic
Rotary Speaker March 17, 2014
After a great meal of corned beef and cabbage, John Steffanic our St. Patrick ’s Day speaker presented a program that began with as his ideas about the role the County fairgrounds might play in the economic development of Plumas County and ended with an update on the County Fair.
John began with his ideas of what he feels are viable options for infusing the economic development of our County, specifically Quincy.  “We have a beautiful fairground site that is already being used as an event center for the High Sierra Music Festival,” he said.  This is a business that draws 10,000 people who spend an average of $200 bringing in $2-3 million in four days.  Some of the money they spend benefits the community in taxes and local purchases, particularly gasoline.  John proposes we develop other special events, both large and small that would draw significant numbers of people to our town.  A side benefit of such events, especially now that fiber optics is being brought to us, would be to let people who come from the crowded Bay Area or other places see what a beautiful place this is to live and raise families while allowing them to commute on-line. 
John offered several suggestions for possible events – Americana Festival, Jazz Festival, Horse Shoe Tournaments, Film Festival.  “We just need to be creative.”  John remarked that just a few years ago in one day, three things captured media attention – President Obama, the death of Michael Jackson and the Ugly Dog Contest in Sonoma.  He suggested we need a signature event. 
As far as the County Fair, he stated firmly, “We are going to continue to have a fair.”  Though state funding to help county fairs has been cut, we will continue to have a fair.  The theme for this year’s fair will be “Fun and Games”.  The plan is to have beach volley ball, bingo, giant games and other fun events.  Mr. Steffanic asked the Rotary Club to consider putting on a one-day cribbage tournament during the fair.  They are also bringing back the Sweetheart of the Mountains, though it will be a scholarship competition that includes talent, poise, community service to help raising funds to be split half and half between the winner and the Fair Foundation.  They also hope to have a tie-in with the 150th Anniversary of State Parks in California.