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Stanislaus County Fair welcomes first female CEO
Kimberly Williams
Kimberly A. Williams was named as the next Stanislaus County Fair CEO (Photo contributed).

For the first time in the Stanislaus County Fair’s 112-year history, a woman will be leading the charge as Kimberly A. Williams was named as the next CEO on Friday morning. Williams succeeds Matt Cranford, who served as Fair CEO for over seven years and resigned from the position in December to take on a new role overseeing facility operations at the California Exposition and State Fair.

Williams has worked at over 25 annual fairs, 18 of which have been the Stanislaus County Fair in Turlock. She first found herself doing miscellaneous jobs for the Stanislaus County Fair in the 1990s before becoming a permanent employee in the concession department until 2010. For the past 10 years, she has served as operations manager, designing and executing the layout of the grounds with a mission to boost revenue and enhance patron experience.

“It’s the industry’s importance on community and family values, the emphasis on discovery and learning, and the richness of traditions that keeps me coming back,” said Williams. “While my love for this fair is steeped in those traditions, it is enriched and inspired by my visions for the future.”

Prior to working in the fair industry, Williams graduated Summa Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of the Pacific. Her first job was at the Chowchilla Fair in the administration office booking commercial vendors and processing entries for the Chowchilla Stampede. Working at fairs is in her blood as her father has worked as a repair manager for fair operations in the Bay Area. 

“Kim is one of the most talented fair executives I’ve known, and our board is so excited to have her lead our fairgrounds and build it into one of the most dynamic venues in California,” said Stanislaus Fair Board President Ray Souza. “We know she will inspire all of us.”

Williams has served in the interim CEO position since Cranford stepped down just over three months ago. At the time Cranford similarly expressed the ultimate confidence in his colleague.

“Kim has a lot of experience on site… she’s grown up in the fair industry. She probably actually knows more about fairs than I ever will,” Cranford joked.

The 2023 Stanislaus County Fair will be held from July 7 to 16. Tickets and entertainment information for this year’s festivities can be found at