Contributed Photos
Miss Salinas Valley Fair Tegan Soares (second from right) stands with Butch Latasa, Jackie Romans and Alex Romans of Mission Ranches, which was named the 2018 Salinas Valley Fair Auction Cover Honoree. Below, more than 500 supporters attend the dinner event April 28.


KING CITY — More than 500 supporters attended the annual Salinas Valley Fair kickoff dinner, dance and auction fundraiser Saturday in King City, raising funds for the Fair and the Salinas Valley Fair Heritage Foundation, both nonprofits.

Guests were treated to a surprise performance by dancers from the Monterey County Dance Theatre, followed by a steak dinner prepared by the King City Young Farmers, a local service club and longtime supporter of the Salinas Valley Fair and youth charities.

All throughout the evening the Knights of Columbus, another charitable organization, helped keep the drinks flowing as they served up cocktails for the party. 

A big part of the April 28 fundraising effort for the evening was the live and silent auctions.

“We had an awesome list of silent and live auction items,” said Frank Lopez, Salinas Valley Fair board member and auction chairman. “Our community and friends really went the extra mile to provide amazing items for this event.”

With several dozen live auction items and 178 for the silent auction, there was a wide variety to entice just about everyone, including trips, dinners, sporting event tickets, fresh produce, unique crafts, jewelry, services and more.

The kick-off live auction, which is part of the night’s entertainment, was expertly handled by Mark Wright of Hollister with Fair Board Directors Frank Lopez, Cody Bassetti and Mike McLane. Ringmen helping to spot buyers were Sheriff Steve Bernal, King City Chief of Police Bob Masterson and retired Fair Manager Paul Slocum. Total live auction proceeds for the event topped $100,000.

“The Fair Kick-Off not only signals the start of the fair season but raises capital necessary to support agricultural youth programming at the fair and deferred maintenance projects on the fairgrounds,” said  Fair Board President Steven Handley. 

Handley explained that the board approved recommendations from the Buildings and Grounds Committee for electrical service improvements, replacement of a submersible pump that broke in the winter and painting projects. He said that 4-H and FFA members will also notice upgrades to the fair’s paging system at the Topo and Rava Barns and the new goat scale, which will partially be paid for by proceeds from the night’s fundraising efforts.

The event also serves as an opportunity to recognize persons who have contributed to the success of the annual fair. Salinas Valley Fair Junior Livestock Auction Director Cody Bassetti had the task of surprising Mission Ranches with the Fair’s Junior Livestock Auction Cover honor. The directors of the fair elected to dedicate the cover for the contributions they have made supporting the annual fair and the Salinas Valley Fair Heritage Foundation.

After dinner was served and the auctions closed, guests were treated to a live performance by the band Gotcha Covered. The high-energy band, played until 1 a.m. without a single break. The dance floor was packed as they performed music from their vast playlist of pop, country, R&B and classic rock.

The 74th Annual Salinas Valley Fair will run May 17-20 at the fairgrounds in King City. The family friendly event attracts over 38,000 guests and 900 livestock exhibitors from five counties.

For information on tickets and event schedule, contact the Salinas Valley Fair at 831-385-3243 or go to

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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