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Santa Barbara County Exhibit Takes Top Honors at State Fair

The display, a joint effort between the county and the Conference & Visitors Bureau, wins a Gold Ribbon and the Best Marketing Blue Ribbon Award

Santa Barbara County recently won a Gold Ribbon and the Best Marketing Blue Ribbon Award from the California State Fair for its exhibit on display at the CalExpo Fairgrounds in Sacramento.

The exhibit was a collaborative effort by the county and the Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau. It was the first all-county exhibit at the state fair promoting the county’s agriculture and tourism industries in more than 10 years.

“The exhibit is a dynamic marketing tool that invites Northern Californians to rediscover Santa Barbara County while also promoting the valuable ag products of our farming and wine industries,” said Kathy Janega-Dykes, president and CEO of the Conference & Visitors Bureau. “Showcasing the richness of our region was an important partnership for the bureau and the county, and winning Best Marketing is reflective of how enticing our destination truly is.”

The 2009 California State Fair runs through Monday and annually draws about 1 million visitors. This year, 35 of California’s 58 counties entered exhibits. The judges selected Santa Barbara County’s exhibit for the Best Marketing award. It also was given one of seven Gold Ribbons presented for having one of the top showcase exhibits.

The exhibit draws upon the county’s history and Spanish-style architecture to highlight regional areas of interest for visitors while promoting products from the county’s agriculture industry, including wines, grape growing, strawberries, avocadoes, artichokes, lemons and cattle ranching. The overall theme was to urge people to pack their bags for an adventure to Santa Barbara County. Each major region of the county was represented, from Santa Maria, Lompoc, Solvang, Buellton and Santa Ynez to Goleta, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.

Each region displayed mementoes, posters, oversized postcards and other items that are presented in large steamer-trunk suitcases extolling the adventures that await visitors. As visitors pass underneath a Spanish-style archway, they are also able to view a special, high-definition Blu-ray video about Santa Barbara County shown on a 52-inch monitor inserted into a 12-foot-tall version of the famous clock tower at the historic county courthouse.

A special feature video about the county exhibit and the livestock competition in which Santa Barbara County youth participated in at the state fair will air on county cable television station Channel 20. Click here for more information.

— William Boyer is the communications director for Santa Barbara County.


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