By LIZ HARRELSON
and SCOTT PESZNECKER
The Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee has a new manager Ray Malerbi.
"He is exceedingly enthusiastic about what he does," said Bob Trinchero, president of the fair's Board of Directors.
Malerbi's enthusiasm and his 35 years of experience made him the top choice out of 13 applicants for the position, Trinchero said.
He works as assistant manager of California Exposition and the State Fair in Sacramento, but he and his wife, Nancy Sacramento residents are looking for a home in Angels Camp.
They have six adult children and four grandchildren, plus another on the way.
"Both my wife and I are excited to be involved with a world-renowned event. I have a new-found love for the fairgrounds and the area," Malerbi said.
Malerbi will begin on a part-time basis in August and will start full-time as chief executive officer beginning Sept. 15. His salary will be about $6,000 per month.
"When you find someone who's been in the business for that long, and still remains enthusiastic, you know you've found someone special," Trinchero said.
Malerbi will succeed Buck King as the chief fair official.
King, who announced his retirement in the spring has managed the fairgrounds since 1996. He worked his first year free of charge because the fair was struggling financially.
King, a Vallecito resident, has been involved with the fair through the Angels Boosters Club since 1969.
Malerbi began his fair career in 1965 as a stage hand. Since then, he's worked his way through the industry. With Cal Expo, he oversees eight departments, from revenue to parking and traffic control.
"He's making a choice to come from a very large fair and a large salary. He likes this particular area and this particular fair," Trinchero said, noting that Malerbi is taking a pay cut to come to Angels Camp. "He's making a quality-of-life choice.
"From our perspective, he's a person of vision and of energy and he has the ability to move things along," Trinchero said.