Chris Borovansky's time at the Stanislaus County Fair has come to an end. The fair's chief executive officer for the past five years announced his retirement on Thursday. After more than 30 years in the fair industry, Borovansky said it was time for him to have a real summer vacation.
“I want to spend time with my kids and watch them grow up during the summer, because as CEO of Stanislaus County Fair, when the summer gets here, my time is usually shot. I’ve been involved with the fair for most of my life so I haven’t had a summer vacation since I was a junior in high school,” he said.
Borovansky took over as head of the Stanislaus County Fair as the elimination of State funding saw county fairs around the region either close or shortened their runs. He helped to see the fair continue its historic 10-day run, mainly through community partnerships like the Friends of the Fair Foundation.
This leadership through financially troubling times is what Borovansky considers his greatest accomplishment while at the Stanislaus County Fair.
"The Board and the community really understand what the fair means and its value to the community. Making sure that the fair runs like a business while maintaining all the important programs that go into it. I will definitely look back on that with a little bit of pride,” he said.
The fair board will conduct an industry-wide search for Borovansky’s replacement. The board’s goal is to fill the CEO position by late June. Borovansky will also take a lead role in assisting with a transition plan for a new CEO.
“We have flourished under Chris’ direction and we are sad to see him go,” said Ray Souza, president of the Stanislaus County Fair Board of Directors.
Borovansky offered the following advice to his replacement: "Have some thick skin and be open to new ideas. We’ve got a great staff and Board, so let them do their jobs and embrace the community because it certainly embraces the fair. The fair is still a big deal in Stanislaus County and not a lot of counties can still say that. Just leave the fairground a little better than how you found it.”
Before coming to the Stanislaus County Fair, Borovansky served as CEO for the Jackson County Fair in Central Point, Oregon for 21 years and was Sonoma County Fair manager for many years. He grew up in the fair industry and worked at the California State Fair as a teenager for eight years. One of his first memories of the fair business was visiting the old California State Fairgrounds.
As he plans to leave the fair industry, and the Stanislaus County Fair in particular, he said there are many fond memories he will take with him.
“During the fair, we basically get paid to put on a party for 230,000 people and watching people just have fun is certainly at the top of the list. It is also satisfying to watch the 4-H kids who have gone on to college and graduated successfully all because of what they learned through their 4-H experience at the fair,” Borovansky said.
He said he will also miss the people who make up the community aspect of the fair; “The people that come together at fair time to put on this magical event throughout the year, those who maintain the traditions at the fair while also maintaining relevance with new ideas."