Merrill Award

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Merrill Award

The Merrill Award, named in honor of Western Fairs Association Founder Louis Merrill, is given for those entries that clearly demonstrate innovation, vision, and excellence.

2021 Merrill Award Winners


In 2018 and 2019 the Madera District Fair FAIR CAMP was introduced as an onsite day camp in partnership with the City of Madera Parks and Recreation Department. Due to COVID-19, FAIR CAMP went virtual in 2020 via ZOOM and in 2021 with the pandemic still a prominent part of life, the Madera District Fair created FAIR CAMP TV with the goal of retaining connections with the Fair Camp audience for the purpose of agricultural education from the fair platform. The Madera District Fair developed 4 days of programming to be streamed LIVE from their studio on YouTube. Each of the 30-minute segments were hosted by two kids and included a daily agricultural commodity emphasis taught through a live craft and with an agriculture partner in the studio to share about the Madera County commodity and taking questions from the live audience through the live chat on YouTube. FAIR CAMP TV maintained and built a new audience via YouTube for the purpose of agricultural education for kindergarten to 6th grade. The broadcast FAIR CAMP TV in July 2021 also gave a unique marketing opportunity to promote the September fair with fun carnival and gate admission giveaways.

Joint Health and Safety Public Outreach Campaign

In 2021, the Big Fresno Fair created the Joint Health and Safety Public Outreach Campaign executed in partnership with the Fresno County Department of Health (FCDPH), with the goal of hosting an in-person 2021 Big Fresno Fair and supporting the attendees and community. The Big Fresno Fair sought out to achieve this goal with a three-pronged joint health and safety campaign that included a Media PSA Campaign, Health & Safety Press Briefing, as well as a Fair-Focused Public Safety Campaign. Their efforts in cooperation with FCDPH resulted in a unified front that promoted and resulted in an in-person fair! Their hard work thwarted any negative media coverage and strengthened public confidence in attending this in-person event, resulting in an incredibly successful 2021 Big Fresno Fair.

Past Merrill Award Winners

2021 - Madera District Fair, Big Fresno Fair
2020 - Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fair, Deschutes County Fair, Oregon State Fair

2019 -
Antelope Valley Fair & Alfalfa Festival
2018 -
Lake County Fair • Marin County Fair
2017 - New Mexico State Fair • San Diego County Fair
2016 - Nevada County Fair • OC Fair & Event Center • Big Fresno Fair
2015 - Marin County Fair
2014 - Del Norte County Fair • Big Fresno Fair
2013 - Calgary Stampede • Washington County Fair
2012 - California Mid-State Fair • Grand National Rodeo • Monterey County Fair • San Benito County Fair • Santa Barbara County Fair • Ventura County Fair
2011 - Big Fresno Fair

2010 - Alameda County Fair
2009 - California Mid-State Fair
2008 - Alameda County Fair • Marin County Fair
2007 - Los Angeles County Fair • Marin County Fair
2006 - Big Fresno Fair • Minnesota State Fair
2005 - Calgary Stampede • San Diego County Fair
2004 - Antelope Valley Fair • Salinas Valley Fair
2003 - Redwood Acres Fair
2002 - Orange County Fair • Tulelake-Butte Valley Fair
2001 - Los Angeles County Fair • Western Washington Fair

2000 - Nadine Lowery • Kern County Fair
1999 - Western Washington Fair
1998 - Calgary Stampede • Marin County Fair
1997 - Del Mar Fair
1996 - California State Fair
1995 - Marin County Fair
1994 - California State Fair • Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
1993 - Calgary Stampede • Napa Valley Exposition • Orange County Fair
1992 - Merced County Fair • School Involvement Fair • Calgary Stampede
1991 - Western Fair

1990 - Sam Abbott
1989 - Orange County Fair • Festival at the Lake
1987 - Tulare County Fair • Colorado River Country Fair • California State Fair
1986 - New Mexico State Fair • Edmonton Northlands
1985 - Orange County Fair • Ventura County Fair • Sonoma County Fair • Los Angeles County Fair
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