It was a grand farewell for Sheila Quince, the longtime exhibits coordinator at the Sonoma County Fair, when more than 300 friends, family members, co-workers and supporters gathered for her retirement dinner and celebration on March 31.
“It was a great turnout to honor Sheila who was a fixture at the fair for 30 plus years. Sheila played a major role in shaping fair exhibits, the flower show, junior livestock auctions and the Harvest Fair,” said Saralee McClelland Kunde, president of the Sonoma County Fair.
The party, coordinated by fair staff and fair board directors, was held in Finley Hall at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The event honoring Sheila raised more than $10,000 for the newly formed Sonoma County Fair Foundation, which will help support such projects as Sweet Lil’s Farm during this year’s fair July 25-Aug. 12.
Quince began working in the Sonoma County Fair’s entry department in 1982 and, eventually, moved up to the exhibits and premium coordinator. She was instrumental in the growth of the fair’s exhibits and the success of the junior livestock auctions. One of her proudest moments came in 2007 when the fair’s junior livestock auctions grossed more than $1 million for the first time.
Quince also coordinated and supervised the exhibits program for both the Sonoma County Fair and Harvest Fair, with the monumental task of tracking and presenting more than 25,000 entries between the two events.
“It got crazy sometimes,” she said, “We have color coded filing cabinets and I have made an effort to preface every comment by saying which Fair I’m talking about.”
While growing up in Santa Rosa, Quince was a member of the Santa Rosa FFA Chapter, raising registered Angus cattle to show at the Sonoma County Fair and other local fairs. She graduated from California State University at Fresno with a degree in Animal Science and was a member of the Dairy Cattle judging team while in college.
Although she’s seen changes through the years, she said she never tired of the annual experience.
“I love taking time out during the Fair to watch the kids showing their animals. The look of achievement in their eyes is truly special. It’s their moment to shine and it’s a memory that lasts a lifetime,” said Quince.