Have you ever wondered about what people did before they started working at the fair? I had the honor of interviewing three different people and wanted to know where they came from, what type of work they have done in the past and what keeps them coming back.
The first person I interviewed was Mickey M. Ganitch, a 98-year-old veteran who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. This is his 8th year volunteering for the Fair. After spending 23 years in the military he said “So many people have helped me in the past, it is my turn to help people and give back”. Mickey drives our racing shuttle from the yellow gate to the grandstands all day long! He lives in San Leandro and made it clear to me that he drives his own car to work every morning. He is the 12th of 14 kids in his family, which means he has lots and lots of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Mickey still works with disabled veterans and has no plans to stop. He also loves spending his free time going to colleges and high schools around the Bay Area, talking about his experiences and lessons learned throughout his life. Mickey has such a positive outlook on life, he plans to spend his 100th birthday in Australia and after the fair you can catch him in New York!
Mickey’s last words to me were “Do you want to know my key to life? Just keep breathing”.
Next, I interviewed Pat Mosca. Pat has worked for the Fair’s marketing department for the past 10 years and is the man behind all of the Fair’s videos and commercials. You can usually see him flying his drone or taking videos of all our fun shows. Before working for the Fair, Pat wrote music for television for 20 years!
I cannot forget to add that Pat used to be a total rock star – literally! He was the keyboardist in the Greg Kihn Band for several years and also played with Eddie Money, Ronnie Montrose and many more. Pat has lots of stories to tell from his rock star past, to say the least! He loves his job here and says “This job is very creative and always changing.” Working at the Fair you never know what you are going to get!
Lastly, I interviewed Karen Barnard. Karen is an amazing woman who comes to our fair every year all the way from Sylvester, Georgia — and, she is married to the one and only Tadpole the Clown! Together, they have been coming to Alameda County Fair for over ten years now and plan to be back for many more. When I asked her why she returns every year, she told me she just loves the people. She says everyone here feels like extended family, so driving across the country is not so hard when you know you get to see them all again. Karen and her husband travel in their RV and camp out in the Fairgrounds’ RV Park. Her various jobs here at the fair include selling racing programs in the grandstands, driving the vendor shuttle and helping out at the amphitheater every night. She travels year round with her husband from fair to fair and loves it because each one is different and unique.