Sonoma-Marin Fair hires new CEO from within

The Sonoma-Marin Fair has named Mandy Clendenen its new CEO.

Clendenen moves up from having served for more than a year as operations manager at the Petaluma-based organization, according to the news release April 12. Her LinkedIn profile shows she joined the Sonoma-Marin Fair in October 2022 and stepped into the CEO role in January of this year.

Clendenen has worked in the California fair industry for nearly two decades, including at the Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa county fairs. She has served in roles that include livestock supervisor, exhibits manager, business assistant and operations manager, according to the release.

The Sonoma-Marin Fair is operated by the California 4th District Agricultural Association, a subsidiary of the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture.

Clendenen’s tenure with the association “has allowed her to immerse herself in the fair's operations and build strong relationships within the community,” the release stated.

“The Sonoma-Marin Fair faces many difficult challenges over the next few years,” Michael Parks, president of the Sonoma-Marin Fair board, said in the announcement.

Parks was referring to the city of Petaluma’s decision in October 2022 not to renew its lease with the organization. At the end of last year, the city and the fair’s board worked out a new agreement, under which the city would take over management of the property, effective at the beginning of this year.

“The board is honored to have Mandy’s experience and enthusiasm for our fair and the fair industry, leading the charge to reshape our future in a manner that best represents our mission and the community’s needs,” Parks said.

Clendenen earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science from Chico State University.

She has been a Petaluma resident for several years, and a Sonoma County resident for the past two decades.

“Fairs have always been a part of my life,” Clendenen said in the news release. “Growing up, I spent my summers traveling to fairs showing livestock, and I continued that summer tradition by working at fairs throughout my college days. I am thrilled to be a part of the Sonoma-Marin Fair, giving back to a way of life that shaped who I am today.”

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