Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce Welcomes New Honorary Mayor

FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG)  |  Story by Janice Kelley, Photos by Ryan Griffith
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FAIR OAKS, CA (MPG) - Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce named Keith Wright honorary mayor for 2018-19 at its 40th annual Dignitary Reception on Wednesday evening, September 13 at the North Ridge Country Club in Fair Oaks. Before a crowd of more than 100 attendees, Kimberly Pitillo, Executive Director of the Chamber, announced this year’s mayor’s race was the closest ever and broke all previous fundraising records.

Both candidates and their campaign team donated hundreds of volunteer hours during the six-month mayoral race. Beginning each year in April and continuing through mid-September, candidates compete to raise the most funds for their nonprofit organization of choice  Honorary mayor candidates and their teams make phone calls, staff special events, such as the Fair Oaks Summer Concert series, and plan numerous other creative activities to win the title and the sash.

Regardless of who won the contest, everyone and their respective non-profit organizations are winners. The campaign teams enjoy their community service time and supporting their teammates. Charities receive half the funds raise during the race. The other half is donated to the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce to support membership, local businesses and community activities.

Wright said his team “left no stone unturned” during his campaign.  His team raised a total of $28,031.05. He received a check for $14,015.53 to give to the Orangevale Food Bank. Wright’s team held 15 community events, activities around the community and asked individuals to make donations. “We focused right away on outreach. My team knew people I didn’t know, so that expanded who we reached and what we accomplished.”  Jim Cralle raised $23,254.04 and gave $11,627.02 to the Fair Oaks Rotary Foundation, supporting local nonprofit organizations with grant funding.

The mayor race was so close that at one point during the campaign, Pitillo noted the total dollars raised from each candidate was less than $200 apart. No one knew who would eventually finish as the mayor until the night before the reception.

Many past Honorary Mayors gathered to celebrate the new leadership. The Chamber also recognized their Citizen of the Year, Ray "Digger" Young who retired in January this year after a 20-year career as the Fair Oaks Cemetery District manager. The Kendall sisters, Cassie and Delanie, were recognized for their individual commitment to community service as youth ambassadors to Fair Oaks. Csssie Kendall was crowned as the new Miss Fair Oaks for 2018-19. The new Junior Honorary Mayor is Cassie’s sister, Delanie. 

The Junior Honorary Mayor and Miss Fair Oaks are selected by a committee based on their volunteer experience in service to the community, a series of interviews, and “on the job” performance assisting candidates during summer fundraising activities.  Both roles serve as youth ambassadors and community volunteers for the Fair Oaks Chamber and intended to build youth leadership and communication skills.

The opportunity to enter a raffle to win a selection of fine food and wine gift baskets, potted plants, or t-shirts for the Chicken Festival added to the evening’s excitement.  For more information about the Fair Oaks Chamber of Commerce activities, visit their website at www.fairoakschamber.com or call (916) 967-2903.