The Clackamas County Fairgrounds and Events Center has a new leader who brings more than two decades of experience in the entertainment industry, producing some of the world’s top concerts and music festivals.
Brian Crow has been named the fairgrounds’ new executive director starting March 21.
He comes to Canby after more than five years as the fairgrounds director and fair coordinator in Jefferson County, where he led two major construction projects and helped the fairgrounds grow even during the Covid-19 pandemic.
2021 was the largest fair in the history of Jefferson County, and Crow is excited about the opportunities in Clackamas County, where the annual fair continues to serve as a showcase for the rich agricultural roots of the area and many of its residents.
“The county fair has a long heritage of bringing the city folk and the agricultural community together,” Crow explained. “Especially now, it’s so important for people to understand where our food comes from, that vegetables aren’t grown at the supermarket. Reminding people the value of the agricultural community is super high on my priority list.”
The height of Crow’s event management career came during the three years he served as executive producer of the Boots and Hearts Music Festival, a multi-day country music and camping festival in Ontario, Canada, and the second-largest music festival in North America behind only the CMA Music Festival.
Crow had also previously worked with Creation Fest, another multi-day festival hosting festivals Christian rock, contemporary and worship bands and the largest Christian music festival in the United States.
He said he hopes to put that experience to good use for the Clackamas County fairgrounds, which officials are increasingly seeking to position as one of the state’s premier outdoor music venues. The fairgrounds will host two large music events, Harefest 10 and the Wild Hare Music Festival, on successive weekends this July.
“This position is a really great opportunity for me personally and professionally,” Crow told the Current. “I specialize in concerts and music festivals, so I’m hoping to bring a lot of that experience to bear in creating new entertainment opportunities in Clackamas County.
“The community needs a place to get together, meet with diverse populations and get to know each other and understand each other, and a lot of times that happens through the uniting power of music.”
Crow replaces Laurie Bothwell, who had served as executive director for 12 years before retiring last summer. Longtime Marketing Manager Tyler Nizer also left the fairgrounds recently to accept an economic development and tourism position with the City of Canby.
“I think he has a lot of fresh ideas for us,” explained Clackamas County Fair Board Chair Gary Linton. “His credentials are unwavering. He has a lot of experience in event planning, and his whole body of work throughout his career really impressed me.”
With the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic appearing to (finally) be in retreat, the Clackamas County Fairgrounds and Events Center is well-positioned for the return of many major events, some new to the Canby area, others beloved favorites.
“I’m very optimistic about what Brian can bring,” Linton said. “I think he’s going to take the facility to a new level.”
The fairgrounds will officially introduce Crow to the Clackamas County community with a public meet and greet from 6:30 to 7:30 April 6 at Horning Hall.
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