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Kent Hojem announces retirement

News Release

Washington State Fair110 9th Avenue SW Puyallup, WA 98371www.thefair.com

March 15, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact: Stacy Van Horne, (253) 312-4481, StacyV@thefair.com

Washington State Fair CEO Announces Retirement

Puyallup, WA –March 15, 2022–The Washington State Fair’s Chief Executive Officer Kent Hojem has announced his retirement, effective by the end of the year. Hojem joined the Washington State Fair in March 1996 and has been Chief Executive Officer since January 2005.

He oversees all operations of the Fair and Fair properties. Those operations include one of the top attended fairs in the world, the Washington State Fair, which is held in September, the Washington State Spring Fair each April, Oktoberfest, Holiday Magic in December, as well as all interim rental activities that occur at the Washington State Fair Events Center throughout the year. He also serves as secretary of the Washington State Fair Foundation.

“Kent told us three years ago, he was retiring,” said Jeff Hogan, Washington State Fair Board president. “He’s been preparing for retirement every year since, but we somehow convinced him to stay.” Hogan added, “In all seriousness, Kent has helped guide the Fair through everything from a name change and rebranding, to lightning storms and a historic pandemic. We truly wish him the best, and some rest, in his next chapter.”

Prior to taking on the role, Hojem was Assistant Fair Manager, overseeing all operations. His background in fair management is extensive, having been manager of the Thurston County Fair for ten years, and another ten years prior to that as assistant manager of the Southwest Washington Fair.

Hojem is a past chairman and a current board president of the Washington State 4-H Foundation and has served on the board since 2004. He has been involved in numerous youth and livestock committees and foundations over the years, including serving as a former chairman of the North Thurston Vocational Agriculture Advisory Committee, and as a member of the Pacific NW Livestock Judging School steering committee. He has served as chairman of Communities In Schools of Puyallup and served on the board from 2005 to 2020 and was a past board member of Communities In Schools of Washington.

He has served on the board of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) since 2009 and served as its chairman in 2016. In 2019, Hojem was inducted into the IAFE Hall of Fame. He is a past chairman and director of the Western Fairs Association and served as president of Washington State Fairs Association in 1995 and was recognized as the Washington State Fairs Association Lifetime Achievement award recipient in 2021.

Hojem has also held other board positions, including the Tacoma Convention Bureau, Fred Oldfield Western Art History Museum, past president of the Puyallup Main Street Association and the past president of the Puyallup-Sumner Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the Lodging Tax Advisory committee of Puyallup. He is a Senior Fellow and alumni of the American Leadership Forum, and was a participant in the 2005–2006 class.

Hojem said he feels the Fair is doing well, and after showing resilience getting through the pandemic, he is ready to pass the torch. “These past couple years have been challenging to say the least,” Hojem said. “I am so proud of the Board of Directors and staff who persevered in one of the most impacted industries.”

Kent was born and raised near Chehalis, Washington where he showed dairy cattle in 4-H. He was a mathematical sciences major at Stanford University. Kent and his wife Carolyn live in Puyallup, and are surrounded by family, including Criss (wife, Andie) and Trent (wife, Toni), and four grandchildren: Tucker, Sydney, Monica, and Mackenzie.

The Washington State Fair is one of the biggest fairs in the world, and the largest in the Pacific Northwest. It started in 1900 in Puyallup and welcomes more than a million guests to the single largest attended event in the state. Star-studded entertainment, the Puyallup Rodeo, rides, exhibits, food, flowers and animals are mainstays of the 20-day event that kicks off the Friday of Labor Day weekend. For more information about the Sept. 2-25 2022 Washington State Fair (closed Tuesdays and Sept. 7), visit www.thefair.com.

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2022 Fair dates

WSFA Presentation to Legislature

October 4, 2019 8:00AM
Take some time to view the presentation...
Legislative Committee on Economic Development & International Relations
"Fairs, Washingtons Largest Classroom -- Opportunities for Growth and Education in Rural Communities" with Tamara Hayes (SW WA Fair), Lori Lancaster (Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo), Anne Moneymaker (Central WA Fair), & Bill Ogg (Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days).
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