Fred Schenk grew up in Los Angeles but has fond
memories of going to the San Diego County Fair as
“My sister was in law school,” says the partner
at Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt & Penfield,
“and I would come down in the summer to visit,
and she and her husband would take me to the
fair. I grew to love it.”
He also grew to run it.
In 2002, Schenk was one of nine members appointed to the board of the 22nd District Agricultural Association by Gov. Gray Davis. The district,
commonly known as the Del Mar Fairgrounds, is
home to daily events; Schenk was assigned with
overseeing the fair.
It is, oddly, a political appointment. “I served
while Gray Davis was governor, and then Arnold
became our governor,” Schenk says. “When
my term expired, he was able to get rid of me;
Schwarzenegger’s office called and thanked me
for my service. Six years I was off the board when
CASEY GERRY SCHENK
PERSONAL INJURY –
Place on Earth
Fred Schenk is the magic behind the San Diego County Fair BY ANDREW BRANDT
The San Diego County Fair is the biggest in the
Jerry Brown was elected, and his office called
me and reappointed me.”
Schenk served as president of the board be-
tween 2013 and January 2016, which meant he
was in charge of contracts for the grounds’ fall
music festival, horse races and security person-
nel. “I oversaw every aspect of every activity at
the fairgrounds,” he says.
state and the fourth-largest in North America.
This past summer, it broke its previous atten-
dance record, bringing in over 1.6 million people.
“In a good year, the Padres feel blessed if they
get 2 million people through the gates from April
through September,” says Schenk. “We got 1.6
million in 27 days.”
The fair begins in early June and ends around
July 4. Schenk likens the annual process to “build-
ing a city”; the grounds go up about a month
before the fair starts, and get torn down within 12
days of its closing.
Changes Schenk has implemented during his
terms include a program called Plant Grow Eat,
which teaches children about sustainability and
nutrition; spending over $5 million to restore an
estuary adjacent to their property; and boosting
the fair’s recycling program to cover 92 percent of
its waste. The fair also self-generates most of its
energy with solar panels, and was the first in the
nation to become smoke- and e-cigarette-free.
The Fab Five? Schenk joins Ringo, Paul,
George and John (not pictured) at the San
Diego County Fair, where there’s nothing to
get hung about.
Life outside billable hours