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Placer County’s exhibit at the California State Fair was honored for the best use of technology and best craftsmanship during an awards ceremony Aug. 15.

Each year, many of the state’s counties create exhibits for display in the California Building at the State Fair. Placer County uses its annual exhibits to promote Placer County to outsiders, and to remind residents of the county’s many attractions. The 2008 exhibit highlights the county’s recreational, arts, agricultural and historical attractions.

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At the Aug. 15 awards ceremony, a panel of judges awarded Placer County the Best Technology Award and Best Craftsmanship Award.

Placer County also received a gold ribbon from the judges. Each participating county receives a gold, silver or bronze ribbon for its exhibit.
Placer County’s 2008 exhibit takes a whimsical look at what makes the county such a special place. Its centerpiece is a 26-foot-tall tree with giant roots interspersed among large boulders.

Fair visitors who venture through entrances created by the tree’s roots will discover a magical world of gnomes. Small in stature, the gnomes shoulder big responsibilities in their previously unseen world: creating the gold that miners find in the county’s streams and rivers, adding the pigment that gives Lake Tahoe’s waters their majestic deep-blue tint and painting mandarin oranges to give them a colorful hue that makes them hard to resist.

The exhibit includes more than 20 moving parts and lighting special effects, sounds of gnomes talking, a slideshow and peakaboo waterfall that help bring the magic to life right before visitors’ eyes.
The theme of this year’s exhibit is: ‘Imagine yourself in Placer County, an enchanting place to go, know and grow.’

Each year, the fair exhibit is created by a team of volunteers headed by the Facility Services Department.

‘I’m very pleased with this year’s exhibit and the awards it won,’ said Facility Services Deputy Director Joel Swift, the project’s coordinator. ‘Our construction team did a masterful job taking our initial concept and turning it into an eye-catching, highly interactive exhibit with lots of animated characters and other special effects.’

Jim McCrummen and Mike Rigney of Facility Services have supervised construction of the exhibit for at least 15 years.

This year’s effort was aided by several interns, including gnome sculptor LeeAnna Strandberg, content writer Nathalie Rayter and Colfax High School artist Rachel Fritz.

The California State Fair is scheduled to run through Monday, Sept. 1 at Cal Expo in Sacramento.

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