Scott Gray has spent the past four years striving to keep the Enumclaw Expo Center a happy and healthy place and, more specifically, to breathe new life into the King County Fair.
His reward comes with increasing fair attendance and the many other activities that occupy the Expo Center grounds.
But appreciation for Gray’s efforts took a more formal turn the afternoon of April 30, when he was presented with the Martin Luther King Jr. Medal of Distinguished Service. The award came during a meeting of the King County Council and Gray’s selection was made by Councilman Reagan Dunn.
“Scott’s leadership and dedication to helping to save the King County Fair is a gift to the entire region,” Dunn said. “As part of the community effort, Scott has turned the Fair and the Expo Center into a thriving facility.”
The County Council annually presents the Distinguished Service award to citizens living across King County, recognizing those who have gone above and beyond in their efforts to make a difference in their communities. The council’s nine members each selects a recipient for the award, now in its third year.
Gray spent a corporate career primarily with Pepsi and had returned to Enumclaw with retirement in sight. After taking a position with The Courier-Herald, Gray became involved as a member of the Expo Center Advisory Board, which was created to determine if the declining King County Fair was still viable. The county had ceased operation of the fair – the oldest ongoing fair west of the Mississippi – and the city of Enumclaw had taken control, turning the operation over to an out-of-state company.
By 2014, attendance at the fair had hit a modern-day low.
The outlook changed with formation of the nonprofit Enumclaw Expo and Events Association, which was charged with operating the city-owned Expo Center and handling all its events. Gray took the reins as executive director and, in 2015, fair attendance doubled. The number of attendees has continued to grow.
“I’d like to thank the council for this award,” Gray said during the April 30 ceremony in Seattle. “It means a lot to be recognized. I’d also like to thank my team who have been with me through this whole endeavor.”