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The Ventura County Fair honors Thomas Fire efforts on opening day

Wednesday marks the 143rd year of the Ventura County Fair, and for many, it’s a celebration of how far the community has come since the Thomas Fire.

Ventura Resident, Kyle Barber, was visiting the first day of the fair with his family.

“It’s been a tough last six months, today is finally a good day to come together and celebrate,” said Barber.

During opening ceremonies, Ventura County Fairgrounds Board President, Leslie Cornejo mentioned the disasters.

“It’s certainly been an interesting time for our fairgrounds this year between the floods, the fires, the parking lot work and trying to maintain the location as the gathering place for our community,” said Cornejo.

This year, crews at the fairgrounds made some additions to remind visitors of the painful time in county history.

A wall added to the Photography Exhibit is showcasing around 100 photos of the recent natural disasters, including the Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslides.

Louis Cunningham is the Superintendent for the photography building. He has been watching people’s reactions as they see the newly-mounted photos.

“Everybody is really concerned because they knew the fires were here, so they’re looking at the photos,” said Cunningham. “My concern is I’m just worried someone is going to come by and their house is burnt down and they see it here or something, but that’s what a lot of it is, is things that they saw.”

There are also signs posted around the fairgrounds that say “Fairgrounds Strong.”

Publicity Director, James Lockwood says money raised at last year’s fair helped the grounds stay open for emergency efforts during the Thomas Fire.

“We are thankful that they come to the fair to support us so that we are ready to stand up for them when the time comes that they need us,” said Lockwood.

The Ventura County Fair will be open through August 12th.

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