Appellate Court Affirms Fairgrounds Ruling


Contact: Steve Stagnaro
Direct Line 408-354-5145

April 6, 2014

Watsonville, CA – Within the past few days a Sacramento Appellate Court upheld a lower court ruling which, in 2012, had dismissed all challenges to the right of the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds to continue hosting rodeos.

At the time each point made by the plaintiffs, Citizens for Environmental Responsibility, citing pollution, noise, and the need to conduct a full environmental review of the rodeo, was negated in the earlier ruling.  The trial court had found no negative environmental damage or danger to the public as a result of a rodeo held in the fall of 2011.  The Appellate Court has now also affirmed that equestrian events such as the Stars of Justice Rodeo held that year fit within the historical uses of the Fairgrounds.

The real damage from this lawsuit is to the financial health of the Fairgrounds.  “Over the past several years it looks like we spent over $100,000 dollars defending the Fairgrounds against legal challenges to our operations” said Dave Kegebein, Fairgrounds Manager.  Kegebein added “We are extremely pleased with this court ruling.  The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds has served the community on this property for over 70 years and will proudly continue to be a very important community asset for many years to come.”

The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds hosts a large number of community events highlighted by the annual County Fair.  The Fair celebrates the rich agricultural history of our community and people, and invests heavily in bringing this heritage to our youth.  The 2014 Fair will be held September 9 - 14 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

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