The best part of working a summer at the fair? The friends you make for life!

The best part of working a summer at the fair? The friends you make for life!

BY Patti Coonce

The Human Resources team at the Alameda County Fairgrounds did the math and discovered that together we have a total of 25 Fairs under our belts — and only one of us is over 30! Each of us got our start here as a seasonal fair employee, just for different reasons: Wayne was seeking an internship to gain career experience, Riley was a student looking for summer work and I was hoping for an opportunity to restart my career.

HR Team with Cowbella and summer HR Interns: Riley Ringor – Far left, Patti Coonce – Far right, Wayne Smith – Front, center

We were each welcomed here at one time, and now we are the ones welcoming others. As a 10-fair veteran, Riley gets energized by seeing returning employees drop in to say “hi” and turn in their applications. Wayne and I are blown away by how many people Riley greets by name every time.  Riley says “It reminds people they matter and are part of our fair family”. We could not agree more.

Riley and Wayne meet Sean Kingston backstage

Positive, lasting connections with employees also happen all the time. Wayne recalls the comradery during his first fair with a mentor who liked to joke around with him. “Nine years later and we are still joking!” remarks Wayne. And he continues to look forward to seeing his friend at the Fair each year.

Summer teamwork

I personally love the few days just before fair when everyone starts showing up to work. It is a like a big family reunion of the best kind—you know, the one with the cousins you like! We value these special connections and realize how rare they can be in many other organizations.

Make some new friends this summer!

We each came looking for a job, but in the end what we found were a family of fun, caring people with a passion for this crazy thing called FAIR. We will always be grateful for the friendships that have grown from our time at the Alameda County Fair and look forward to all of the new friends we will make in 2019 and beyond.

The Alameda County Fair HR Team:

Patti Coonce, HR Supervisor

Riley Ringor, HR Assistant

Wayne Smith, Payroll Specialist