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Contact: Ron Haedicke
Direct Line (831) 419-8517

November 9, 2023

Holiday Lights and Holiday Craft and Gift Fair

Watsonville, CA - It's time to embrace the sights and sounds of the holiday season... and there's no better place than the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds-- home of Holiday Lights and the Holiday Craft and Gift Fair!

Our 4th annual Holiday Lights event gets underway November 24th. This incredible light display features TWO MILLION lights! You'll be dazzled as you drive a 3/4 mile loop around the fairgrounds... passing through a magical world where everything from Santa Claus to tractors are brought to life in lights. This year, there will be a snow globe display inspired by the artwork of a local 4th grader. Attendees can stay warm and snuggly in their car and listen to a special Holiday Lights radio station while soaking up all the spectacular lights. Holiday Lights is made possible by the Fair Foundation and Ag History Project.

On December 1st and 2nd only, the Fairgrounds Foundation will also host the Holiday Craft and Gift Fair, now in its 46th year. The Fair is the perfect place to "shop local." 125 vendors will be selling unique and handmade gifts, everything from clothes to candles… plus food and candy. And, fair goers can keep up their shopping energy with a home cooked dinner and warm apple pie.

During the two days of the Holiday Fair, attendees can walk through Holiday Lights. It’s an extra special opportunity to see all the lights on foot and take lots of photos—aka, selfies. You might even encounter Santa himself!

Holiday Lights:

November 24th - December 24th
Driving tours - Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 5:30pm

Holiday Craft and Gift Fair:
December 1st and 2nd
Noon - 9pm
Walk-through of Holiday Lights starting at 5:30pm

For ticket prices and more... please visit:


Contact: Katie Marzullo
Direct Line 949-257-9089

October 12, 2023

Top Honor for Fair Volunteers

Watsonville, CA – The Santa Cruz County Fair is pleased to announce our 2023 Blue Ribbon Award winners. Each year, the Fair Board of Directors and management give this award to volunteers who believe in the Fair, love the Fair and go above and beyond to make the Fair a success. The award is recognized by the Western Fairs Association.

This year’s Blue Ribbon Award recipients are Loretta Estrada and Jody Belgard.

Loretta was appointed to the Fair Board in 1988. She’s a founding member of the Ag History Project and was instrumental in having The Rodgers House moved to the fairgrounds in 1998. Loretta is also the driving force behind the ever-popular Diaper Derby.

Jody has been dedicated to the Fair for 17 years. Dedicated is an understatement. At one point, when the fairgrounds were running on a shoestring budget and couldn’t make ends meet, Jody put her home up for collateral and paid off the Fair’s bills herself.

It is impossible to sum up all the work these two women do for the Fair in a sentence or two.  Please see full biographies attached.

The Blue Ribbon Awards were given out at last night’s Volunteer Thank You Dinner. More than 300 people attended the event, hosted by the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Foundation. The delicious dinner of BBQ chicken and scrumptious sides is a thank you not only to our Fair volunteers… but to our volunteers who work year-round to maintain the fairgrounds.

Photos attached. Please courtesy “Santa Cruz County Fair.” In the photo featuring four people, from left to right: Fair Manager Zeke Fraser, Jody Belgard, Loretta Estrada and Fair Board President, Michael Pruger.

Jody Belgard

Jody was appointed to the Fair Board of Directors 17 years ago, in October of 2006.

She is a member of The Rodgers House and Crab Feed Committees. She, along with Loretta, brought back Fair favorites - the Diaper Derby and Ice Cream Social. Jody helps the Fairgrounds Foundation in many fundraising auction dinners, including The Heritage Hall Dinner that brings in thousands of dollars every year. She helps every year in the kitchen with the Volunteer Thank You Dinner.

Jody has spent months of her free time in the Fair office donating her time and accounting skills. At one point, more than a decade ago, when the office and grounds were running on a shoestring budget trying to pay bills… Jody put her home up for collateral until all bills were paid. Her dedication to the Fair is without question. We are all so grateful for everything she has done.

Loretta Estrada

Loretta was appointed to the Fair Board of Directors in November of 1988, 35 years ago. She has been involved with the Agriculture Department, the California Cattlemen’s Association and she’s a major livestock supporter. Loretta is a founding member of the Ag History Project and she was instrumental in having The Rodgers House moved to the fairgrounds in 1998. She is still the chairperson to this day. Loretta is one of the founding chairpersons of The Crab Feed and still is on the committee after more than 20 years.

Every year, she helps with several fundraising auction dinners for the Fairgrounds Foundation, including The Heritage Hall Dinner that bought in $16,000 last year. Loretta, along with Jody, bought back Fair favorites-- the Diaper Derby and Ice Cream Social. Loretta has cooked for the Volunteer Thank You Dinner for 35 years. This Fair and fairgrounds would not be where they are today without Loretta’s dedication, hard work and most of all—her love for our Fair.



Contact: Katie Marzullo
Direct Line 949-257-9089

September 20, 2023

Attendance Up at 2023 Fair

Watsonville, CA – The 2023 Santa Cruz County Fair wrapped up Sunday night with music and smiles!

We are pleased to announce attendance for the five-day Fair was up 3% overall compared to 2022. This uptick in attendance is a testament to the strength of the Fair. We were able to thrive despite struggles earlier in the year, including turnover in management.

“This year’s Santa Cruz County Fair was a roaring success! As I roamed the fairgrounds throughout our five days of fun, I saw only smiling faces and happy families enjoying everything we had to offer. My thanks go out to the hard work of all of our volunteers, a tireless staff, and all of our sponsors and vendors – without them, none of this would have been possible. It wasn’t me who showed the community what it means to be home grown and locally shown… it was the community that showed me. I am honored to be a part of it all,” said Zeke Fraser, Fair CEO and Manager.

Also, congratulations are in order for our local 4-H and FFA students. The Junior Livestock Auction raised more than $455,000.



Contact: Katie Marzullo
Direct Line 949-257-9089

September 17, 2023

A Super Sunday On Tap at The Fair

Watsonville, CA – The final day of the 2023 Santa Cruz County Fair is upon us. It’s been a rip roarin’ good time… and there are plenty of good times still to be had today!

Reporters, photographers and videographers – Today, we can offer you Camel Rides! Hop up and get unique video and photographs… not to mention the rare and exciting experience for yourself!

New entertainment today – Lola Montes! Lola rides her beautiful Andalusian horse while singing regional Mexican music. She performs at 4:00pm in the Main Horse Arena. Lola’s show goes hand in hand with Escaramusa Charra and Los Reyes de la Banda… also performing in the 4 o’clock hour at the Main Horse Arena.

At 7:00pm – Grupo El Tiempo headlines on the Amphitheater Stage. It will be a packed house!

Come to the Fair today and enjoy all of the above plus favorites like delicious treats, Twinkle Time, Michael Mezmer’s DangerMagik and TranceNosis, All-Alaskan Racing Pigs, Cartoon Poodles, The Birdman, Paco the sloth and more!


The Santa Cruz County Fair celebrates the rich agricultural history of our community and people and invests heavily in bringing this heritage to our youth.  The 2023 Fair will be held September 13-17, at the Fairgrounds located on Highway 152 just east of Watsonville.  Information on the Fair, and the Fairgrounds - a year-round entertainment and event venue, can be found at