Frequently Asked Questions
The Los Angeles County Fair Association, a non-profit, mutual benefit organization, has operated the fairgrounds in Pomona, California since 1922. As a 501 (c)5, mutual benefit organization, it is part of our very existence that we focus on giving back, making a positive impact on our guests and on our community. Through our efforts, we work to improve the quality of life for all those who experience the Fair Association and its events and activities, whether as guests, learners, neighbors or associates.
From its inception, LACFA has managed and produced its signature event, the LA County Fair. This time-honored tradition continues today, serving as an important cultural, educational and economic contributor to the region. The Fair event remains the single most impactful activity on the Fairgrounds in terms of job creation, economic impact and just plain fun. In support of our mission, LACFA has also grown to include many other businesses and events on the property. Each of these activities contributes to the character and definition of Fairplex as a regional entertainment and educational destination and plays a role in the future growth of our company.
LACFA is financially self-supporting and does not fall under the auspices of any county or state governmental body.
What is the Los Angeles County Fair Association?
The LA County Fair was first held in 1921 on farm land owned by local families that wished to showcase the industries and values of Southern California. The largest industry at that time was agriculture.
In 1922 the operations and running of the Fair was entrusted to the Los Angeles County Fair Corporation and later reorganized into the business entity called the Los Angeles County Fair Association, made up of community volunteers. The Fair has been at the Pomona site since 1922 except during World War II, when the Federal Government asked that the land be used for war defense activities.
LACFA is the same private business that was formed years ago, governed by volunteers from the community.
What is Fairplex?
Fairplex is the name for the 487 acres that LACFA uses for conducting the Fair and year-round business. Of the 487 acres, over 200 acres are privately held by LACFA. Between 1941 and 1952, a portion of the land belonging to LACFA was deeded by the Association to Los Angeles County as a gift. The remaining acreage is under a long-term lease with the County of Los Angeles.
Is the LA County Fair different than other county fairs?
Yes, in many ways. First, it is one of the largest of all the county fairs in California in terms of acreage, revenue and employees. Second, the LA County Fair is governed by a private not-for-profit, 70-member Business Association, 11 of whom are elected to serve as Board of Directors for defined terms
LACFA is a private, non-profit 501(c)5, self-funding organization that is not governed by the county or state, and receives no government subsidies for daily business operations.
LACFA oversees many other business activities other than just the Fair. With $90 million in annual revenues under our control, our business model is more complex than typical county fairs. We operate a hotel, multiple RV parks, storage facility, food & beverage company, two 501(c)3 organizations, a horse auction company and an equipment rental business.
Why is LACFA a nonprofit?
As a 501(c)5, we have three primary objectives in our charter of nonprofit business operations:
- To advance and promote
- Industrial and other interests of Los Angeles County
- To operate and maintain county fairs and expositions for the exhibition of livestock, dairy, poultry, household and fine arts, and school and educational exhibits
- To acquire new land, develop our land or make improvements for the benefit of the LA County Fair
We are special type of not for profit business. As an 501(C)5 association our articles of incorporation are on file with the Secretary of State and confirmed by with the Federal Government. This means that every year since 1922, we provide a community benefit and our profits go back to people, programs and community. Besides employing 300 year-round employees and nearly 1,700 FTE jobs during the Fair, LACFA provides millions of dollars of benefit in cash and in-kind donations to education and community programs. We are pleased to help organizations and people from throughout Southern California as we work to build stronger communities.
You’re a nonprofit. Do you still pay taxes?
As a special type of not-for-profit operation, the Los Angeles County Fair Association runs the LA County Fair, a 501(c)5 in September and several other for-profit businesses year-around at Fairplex, including an award-winning child care center, a hotel, restaurant, RV parks and more. These year-round businesses bring into the region over $90 million dollars in annual revenue, which is equivalent to impact of holding a Super Bowl every year.
We evaluate profitability through EBITDA (Earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes and amortization). This reflects the actual cash we, as an organization, have on hand each year to service debt and reinvest in capital. This is the term that banks use in determining the financial soundness of any business. The Fair Association has a strong EBITDA. While we have operated with a positive EBITDA every year of operation, our financial statements sometimes reflect a different measure of profitability due to depreciation, bond values and other factors that on paper may represent a gain or loss but actually have no impact on our accessibility to funds.
The Fair Association has a strong bottom line, with sufficient cash reserves that satisfy all of its commitments to myriad financial partners.
What other activities does the Los Angeles County Fair Association operate?
In order to keep the Fairplex site operating in the 11 months when the Fair is not open, the Association realized that it needed a source of revenue to keep the lights on, pay for upkeep and construct new buildings. Over 30 years ago it began operating on a year-round basis. We operate a hotel, multiple RV parks, storage facility, food and beverage company, two 501(c)3 organizations, a horse auction company and an equipment rental business. Every day some activity is occurring at Fairplex and the Fair Association is receiving visitors from around the world
What is The Learning Centers?
LACFA also operates a 501(c)3 organization called The Learning Centers at Fairplex. It is no exaggeration to state that the Fair Association oversees one of the most highly recognized unique learning complexes in California for all ages. With a mission to fill unmet educational needs and provide opportunities to build stronger communities through early childhood, leadership, career and technical education programs, The Learning Centers today provides nearly $5 million of educational programming and is supported with nearly $1 million in overhead support plus buildings, infrastructure and land from the LACFA to operate each year. Serving more than 150,000 “students” each year (more than 600 daily outside of the Fair event), The Learning Centers provide a continuum of learning for students of all ages. The significance of our programs is evidenced by our innovative partnerships with prestigious colleges and universities like Cal Poly Pomona, The University of La Verne, The Claremont Colleges, Mt. Sac and also all school districts in our surrounding communities. The Learning Centers campus features a museum, agriculture farm, automotive education workshop, classrooms, art studios, continuing education programs and school-linked educational field trips throughout the year.
We aspire to be a model community partner, economic engine and presenter of unique experiences.
Fairplex is a nonprofit enterprise that serves as a place, a convener and a creator of memories to strengthen the community and economy through arts and entertainment, agriculture, education and commerce.
Our Guiding Principles:
Public Benefit - committed to doing good in everything we do
Guest Experience - placing our guests at the center of what we do
Partnership - we are at our best when we partner with others
Sustainability - committed to being financially healthy and environmentally friendly
Uniquely Southern California - celebrating the best of our community