SALINAS, Calif. – Growers Express has donated $70,000 to finish payment on a $5.5 million loan that financed construction of livestock and equestrian event centers at the Salinas Valley Fair in King City, Calif.

“This is the culmination of an eight-year effort to pay off the loan,” said Richard Casey, co-chairman of the Salinas Valley Fair Heritage Foundation capital campaign, at a May 6 news conference in the Salinas offices of Growers Express.

Jamie Strachan, chief executive officer, said the donation was fitting given the company’s roots in south Monterey County.

“In all directions around King City, you’ll find ranches from the Growers Express partners,” Strachan said. “A lot are involved in the fair one way or another. So when we got the opportunity to finish up the barns, which are going to drive a lot of revenue and opportunity for the community long-term, we really wanted to step in and do it.”

It wasn’t the company’s first donation to the campaign. Growers Express is one of many organizations and individuals who contributed. The two event centers – often called barns – are 60,000 and 70,000 square feet. One has a dirt floor.

The 67 annual Salinas Valley Fair is set for May 12-15. Events are onsite throughout the year, said Sarah Cummings, the fair’s chief executive officer.

“There will be 1,000 kids with animals in those barns at the fair,” said Kirt Andrus, finance chairman of the fair’s Heritage Foundation. “More than 800 will sell their animals at Saturday’s auction.”

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Growers Express chief executive officer Jamie Strachan, left, and some of the company's partners present a $70,000 check to the Salinas Valley Fair Heritage Foundation May 6 in Salinas, Calif.