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NAPA, CA – Representing a significant step in revitalizing and preserving a cherished community asset, the Napa County Board of Supervisors today voted unanimously to sell the Calistoga Fairgrounds to the City of Calistoga for $2 million. This milestone follows extensive negotiations between the County of Napa and the City of Calistoga.
The sale aligns with the historical uses of the property, such as for county fairs, event centers, RV parks, golf courses, racetracks, and community services, and ensures its continued benefit to both Calistoga and Napa County residents. The agreement encompasses certain provisions, allowing the county to maintain rights, such as utilizing the property for emergency response purposes and retaining the right to repurchase the property under specific circumstances. Additionally, one acre of land currently leased by the County to the Napa County Office of Education will not be part of the acquisition.
“The agreement signifies the collaborative commitment of both the county and city to bring this deal to fruition for the betterment of our community,” said Chair of the Napa County Board of Supervisors Joelle Gallagher. “The Fairgrounds once served as a vital community asset, and I look forward to its reinvigoration in the years ahead.”
Since the spring of 2023, an ad hoc committee comprised of Calistoga Mayor Don Williams, Calistoga Councilmember Scott Cooper, Vice Chair of the Napa County Board of Supervisors Anne Cottrell, and Supervisor Ryan Gregory worked together to establish a consensus on the terms of the sale.
“Throughout these months, I had the privilege of witnessing firsthand how significant the Fairgrounds are to the residents of Calistoga and the entire county,” said Vice Chair Cottrell, whose district encompasses the Fairgrounds. “I’m thrilled that we have reached an agreement that will preserve this invaluable community asset.”
The Fairgrounds has a storied history, having been acquired through multiple transactions between 1935 and 1976. In 1938, the Calistoga Fair Association sold the property to Napa County for $40,000. The approximately 70.6 acre Calistoga Fairgrounds boasts various amenities, including a racetrack, golf course, RV park, and event center. For over 80 years, the county contracted with the Napa County Fair Association to oversee the land, buildings, and events on the Fairgrounds, including the Annual Napa County Fair.
However, the Fairgrounds has faced challenges since 2012, including funding cuts, aging infrastructure, and declining fair attendance. In 2018, the Association terminated its agreement to operate the Fairgrounds, leading to discussions between Napa County and the City of Calistoga regarding the sale of a portion of the property. Over time, this interest evolved into the sale of the entire property. In May 2023, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to reinitiate discussions with the city regarding the sale of the property. In the spring of 2023, the Board appointed an ad hoc committee to engage with the City of Calistoga in negotiations concerning the Fairgrounds’ sale.
“The fairground property has been an important part of this beautiful valley’s history and evolution," stated Napa County CEO Ryan Alsop. “For decades, it has served as the vibrant focal point of the City of Calistoga, and its preservation and rejuvenation represent a valuable victory for all of us who proudly call Napa Valley our home."