For more information:
Susan Senning
[email protected]


SAN MATEO – The San Mateo County Event Center and Fair is proud to announce that it has won the prestigious Western Fairs Association Merrill Award for its 2022 Farmworker Heroes Appreciation Day at the Fair. The Merrill Award, named in honor of Western Fairs Association Founder Louis Merrill, and is awarded to Fair programs that clearly demonstrate innovation, vision, and excellence. It is the highest honor that a Fair can receive.

The San Mateo County Fair team is committed to inclusion and diversity Recognizing how hard Farmworkers in our community and throughout the U.S work to provide food, often during extreme conditions including severe weather, fires, and during the pandemic, and who too often go unrecognized. The Fair staff created an educational and recognition program celebrating their hard work, and the legacy of Cesar Chavez, Larry Itliong and Dolores Huerta. A curated exhibit in partnership with the National Chavez Center, Cesar Chavez Foundation and local non-profit association, ALAS (Ayundando Latinos A Soñar) was established with over 100 photographs.

Additional educational content was developed to share and celebrate the enormous contributions of Farmworkers, and Cesar Chavez.

An exciting aspect of this curated exhibit is that it will be shared with schools and other county fairs throughout California as a traveling educational exhibit; amplifying the messaging of what our Farmworkers do and how important they are.

The San Mateo County Fair is proud to have had the opportunity to recognize our Farmworkers and their essential contributions to our daily lives. “It has been a privilege to recognize the hard work and dedication of our Farmworkers,” said Dana Stoehr, CEO of the San Mateo County Event Center & Fair. “This award is a testament to our Farmworkers, the legacy of Cesar Chavez, our team and the San Mateo County community.”

The Farmworker Heroes Appreciation Day was a huge success, educating tens of thousands of visitors to the fair on how important our Farmworkers are and acknowledge and celebrate their hard work.

We are thrilled to have received this recognition and will continue to showcase and celebrate the contributions of Farmworkers in our community. We want to thank the Western Fairs Association for recognizing our efforts, and we look forward to continuing our work toward hosting a fair that is inclusive and celebrates the diversity of San Mateo County.

“Farmworker Heroes Day is more than just a one-time event,” added Justin Aquino, Fair Operations Manager at the San Mateo County Event Center & Fair. “It is an educational exhibit designed to educate our public and acknowledge and celebrate individuals who keep our food system running.”

We invite everyone to join us in celebrating Farmworker Heroes Day and recognizing the invaluable contributions of Farmworkers at the San Mateo County Fair, June 3-11, 2023. More information about the event, including a schedule of activities, will be available on our website closer to the event start date.

During COVID, the San Mateo Event Center was unable to host most events but instead played a vital role in protecting our health care workers and most vulnerable populations by serving as a COVID-19 testing site, operations hub, and supply center, 250-bed temporary overflow hospital, and vaccine distribution center for the San Francisco Bay Area. To date, the Event Center has administered 250,000 COVID-19 tests and vaccinated more than 90,000 individuals.

The award-winning San Mateo County Fair is the Peninsula’s premier community event for family fun and entertainment. The San Mateo County Fair strives to provide a diverse experience through education, inspiration, and entertainment. The annual Fair represents a celebration of our community’s talent, interests, innovations, and rich agricultural and artistic heritage.