Auctioneer Mark Wright (left) shakes hands with Fair Board President Frank Lopez at the April 15 Fair Kick-Off event. (Ivan Garcia)

KING CITY — It was a packed house inside the Orradre Building at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds in King City on April 15, as 600 supporters of the Salinas Valley Fair attended the annual Fair Kick-Off dinner, dance and auction fundraiser.

Guests were served a hearty 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 fundraising effort for the evening was a live and silent auction, thanks to Kickoff Committee members Britt Davis, Tim Maxwell and Abe Marquez. 

“We had an awesome list of silent and live auction items,” said Frank Lopez, Salinas Valley Fair board president 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 more than 130 silent auction items, there was a wide variety to entice just about everyone. 

The Kick-Off live auction, which is part of the night’s entertainment, was expertly handled by auctioneer Mark Wright of Hollister with Fair Board Directors Frank Lopez, Cody Bassetti and Mike McLane. Ringmen helping to spot buyers included retired Fair Manager Paul Slocum, Cecelio Mendoza and Ryan Branco.  

Total live auction proceeds for the event topped $91,000, with the Fair’s 79th anniversary poster “Barnyard May-Ham,” theme chosen by James Hinkle, closing out the live auction.

Miss Salinas Valley Fair 2023 Kyla Lambert stands with youngster Cienna Domingos, holding a framed copy of this year’s Salinas Valley Fair poster, during the Fair Kick-Off auction on April 15. (Ivan Garcia)

“The Fair Kick-Off not only starts off the fair season, but raises capital necessary to support agricultural youth programming at the Fair and maintenance projects on the fairgrounds,” Lopez said.

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 Scott and Debbie Anthony with the Fair’s Junior Livestock Auction Cover honor. The Directors of the fair elected to dedicate the cover for the contributions of countless hours in the 4-H Building and commercial vegetable competition.

In the evening of recognition, Mark Wright was honored as the Blue Ribbon award recipient. The Blue Ribbon award recognizes many years of volunteering and dedication to auctioneering for the Salinas Valley Fair Kick-Off Dinner and Junior Livestock Auction.

Wright and his family have been involved in the Salinas Valley Fair for many years showing livestock. The family is “woven into the fabric of the Salinas Valley Fair,” according to Interim Fair CEO Lauren Hamilton.

After dinner was served and the auctions closed, guests danced the night away to a live performance by the band Lipstick Revolver. The high-energy band, played until midnight with a packed dance floor.

“From the Salinas Valley Fair and Board of Directors, we thank everyone for always making the event a success,” Hamilton said. “See you at the Fair, May 18-21, 2023!”

The 79th Annual Salinas Valley Fair is set for Thursday, May 18, through Sunday, May 21, at the fairgrounds, 625 Division St., in King City.

Previous articleSalinas Valley News Briefs | April 26, 2023
Next articleMee Memorial hires new quality and population health manager
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here