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New Fair CEO Cranford grew up in Ceres
Fair reveals new CEO, welcomes two directors
Fair CEO Matthew Cranford
Matthew Cranford, who grew up in Ceres and graduated from Central Valley Christian Academy in Ceres, has just been appointed the CEO of the Stanislaus County Fair. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

The new CEO of the Stanislaus County Fair is a product of Ceres.

Following the announcement made by Stanislaus County Fair Chief Executive Officer Chris Borovansky in March revealing his intent to retire, the Stanislaus County Fair Board of Directors has unanimously voted to name Matthew Cranford as his replacement.

Cranford, a Ceres native, has worked at the San Mateo County Fair since 2008 and in 2009 he was promoted to Fair Manager. He grew up in the Central Valley area and graduated from California State University, Stanislaus with a Bachelor in Science degree in Business Administration in 2004.

Cranford is also a Trained Crowd Manager with International Association of Venue Managers, as well as a Certified Festival and Events Executive with International Festivals and Events Association.

"To come back to my hometown is very exciting for me," said Cranford, who was not present at a recent Board meeting. "This Fair is known for its community involvement, leadership, and innovative events, and I have some big shoes to fill with Chris Borovansky leaving."

The board revealed that Cranford was chosen as the new fair CEO after six months of searching, 11 applications, and final interviews along with three other candidates.

"The new CEO will be inheriting a well grounded Fair tied to community, as well as an established Friends of the Fair Foundation, which has been built by CEO Chris Borovansky," said Stanislaus County Fair Board President Ray Souza.

Borovansky took over as head of the Stanislaus County Fair as the elimination of state funding saw county fairs around the region either close or shortened their runs. He helped to see the fair continue its historic 10-day run, mainly through community partnerships like the Friends of the Fair Foundation.

This leadership through financially troubling times is what Borovansky considers his greatest accomplishment while at the Stanislaus County Fair.

"I'm elated the board has found a candidate as strong as Matt," said Borovansky. "He'll be a great fit with a tremendous board of directors and staff."

Cranford will begin with an entry level salary of $84,720. Currently, Borovansky earns $98,700.

Cranford's official start date as the fair's new CEO is Aug. 5. Borovansky is slated to serve until August 31. The board reports that the two men will work together throughout the month in order to ensure a smooth transition.

Cranford is the son of Ceres resident Bernie Hendrix, who was just elected as president of Ceres Garden Club.

"I'm happy because I'll see him more," said Hendrix.
Born in 1978, he moved to Ceres in the second grade. He attended Ceres schools and graduated from the Central Valley Christian Academy in Ceres in 1998.

The June 22 Board meeting also marked the inaugural meeting for two new directors - Jeremiah Williams and Angelica Anguiano - who were appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier in June.

Williams, a Modesto resident, has been the owner of Oak Crafts by Jeremiah since 1986. He is a member of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Gallo Center for the Arts Board of Trustees, King-Kennedy Memorial Center Board of Directors, Modesto Community Gang Task Force and the Boys and Girls Club of Stanislaus County Board of Directors.

Williams is also a charter member of Project Uplift and president of the Greater Modesto Tree Foundation, chair of the City of Modesto Independence Day Parade and community relations director of United Pentecostal Church of Modesto.

Anguiano, of Waterford, is an attorney at the Law Offices of Mark S. Nelson for two years and a law clerk for four years. She was a legal assistant at the Law Office of Aaron Anguiano from 2004 to 2008. She is a member of the Parent Institute for Qualify Education Board of Directors, Haven Women's Center of Stanislaus County Board of Directors and Murals in Motown. Anguiano has earned a Juris Doctor degree from Humphreys College Laurence Drivon School of Law.

Courier editor Jeff Benziger contributed to this report.