Out at the Fair creators selected for top award in fair industryOnline Only, Section 4A, Top Highlights Thursday, December 14th, 2017
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Western Fairs Association (WFA), a trade organization serving the fair industry in the western United States and Canada, has selected WZ Productions, LLC (WZP) as the 2018 recipient of its prestigious Barham Award, created in remembrance of Hot Dog on a Stick Founder Dave Barham, to recognize innovation, quality, and leadership in the field of service; it is the highest honor bestowed by the Fair industry. The award will be presented during WFA’s Annual Convention in Anaheim, CA on Friday, January 5, 2018, as part of the conference’s Industry Awards Dinner.
In 2013, WZP partnered with the San Diego County Fair (SDCF) to create the “Unofficial Gay Day at the Fair” as a family-friendly celebration of the LGBTQ+ community; the event was a success, and quickly embraced by fairgoers and the community. One year later, it became an official Fair event, and renamed “Out at the Fair” (OATF). During the following four years, OATF grew considerably in scope and breadth, garnering praise from community leaders and awards from trade associations, as well as expanding to two other fairs. What started as an outing by a group of friends in 2011 – as a simple Facebook check-in – is now the only official LGBTQ+ event in the Fair industry.
“We are beyond honored and humbled to receive this award,” said William Zakrajshek, president of WZP. “What a way to be welcomed into the fair industry! We are excited for the future of Out at the Fair, and look forward to continue working on its growth.”
OATF also received first place in the category of Promotional Event at the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) Convention in Las Vegas, NV on November 29, 2017.
Through the years, OATF has gained the support of local LGBTQ+ community organizations, such as San Diego Pride, North County Pride, South Bay Pride, The San Diego LGBT Community Center, as well as local elected officials and businesses.
At the SDCF, OATF includes a full day of entertainment at two stages, featuring local LGBTQ+ performers, non-profit organizations exhibiting, the Newly Married Game, Diva Drop, Dunk a Hunk, an art exhibition, and two multi-stall all-gender restrooms. In preparation for the event, TransFamily Support Services – a non-profit organization supporting youth in the gender-transitioning process – offer sensitivity training to ambassadors, Guest Services employees, and Senior Staff, sharing the “dos and don’ts” of interacting with transgender guests.
July 30, 2017, after five years of increased success, OATF made the jump to the California State Fair in partnership with the Sacramento LGBT Center – as part of an expansion plan that intends to spread a message of diversity and inclusiveness to Fairs nationwide and abroad. Going back to its roots, the community in Sacramento and surrounding areas was invited to visit the Fair on that day – with no special programming – except for a previously scheduled Melissa Etheridge concert.
Sept. 16, 2017, OATF crossed state borders and welcomed fairgoers from Albuquerque and surrounding areas to the New Mexico State Fair, in partnership with Albuquerque Pride. In both cases, OATF went back to its roots as an “unofficial” event, inviting the community – primarily via social media and local businesses – to attend the fair on a specific day.
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