Ventura County fair's aquarium exhibit dropped this year
By Gena Brookes 07/25/2013
For more than 25 years, the popular Fishes and Friends aquarium exhibit at the Ventura County Fair provided local residents with the opportunity to put their exotic fish on display. Offering a wide assortment of sea life contained in festively decorated aquariums, the exhibit had always been a must-see for generations of fairgoers. After much deliberation by fair executives, however, the exhibit has been removed as an attraction for the upcoming 138th annual VC Fair.
“We evaluate departments yearly: cost of operations, locations, number of entries and interest in subject matter,” stated Barbara Quaid, CEO of the Ventura County Fairgrounds. “The decision was made earlier in the planning process that it was time to make a change with the Fishes and Friends Department. We have made various changes this year, as we do each fair. There are classes that are added, deleted and changed.”
The Fishes and Friends exhibit offered a tour of a variety of sea creatures, including saltwater, freshwater, seahorse, cichlids and livebearers. These fish were housed in ornamented and custom-made tanks, which were awarded prizes that were given out by fair judges.
“I don’t understand why such a popular exhibit would be taken away,” said Scott Krupp, owner of the Extreme Marine fish store in Ventura and first placeholder in the commercial division at the fair last year. “It was a wonderful exhibition that was great for the community, allowing local professionals and amateur fish enthusiasts alike to participate.”
For the future of the Fishes and Friends community, avid contributor and won best in show in the adult division last year, Melanie Fiske of Moorpark, explains that there is a Ventura County Fish and Aquarium Society in the works.
“There was never an official association set up for the Fishes and Friends contributors,” she said. Unlike other exhibition donors who have shown at the VC Fair, the Fishes and Friends community had never been a part of an organization. “I would like for there to be a fish and aquarium organization for Ventura County residents, similar to the 4-H club or the Turtle and Tortoise Club.”
Currently, a Facebook page has been created for the fish and aquarium community in hopes that more interested locals will join and contribute in the formation of a VC fish society.
In terms of the Fishes and Friends exhibit’s return to the VC Fair, Quaid indicated that the fairground’s executives “will once again evaluate after this year’s fair for 2014.” In the meantime, Quaid said, “While there will not be an aquarium exhibit in 2013, we will continue to have the Turtle and Tortoise exhibit on the last weekend of the fair, and encourage everyone to enjoy the turtle friends.”
For more information about the Fishes and Friends community, visit and like the community’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/venturacounty.fishandaquariumclub.