The Jacobsen & Laub Family Provides Largest Family Gift In Fair History – Fresno County Historical Museum

Taylor HillmanEducation

The Big Fresno Fair is honored to receive a $300,000 gift from the Jacobsen & Laub Family, third-generation farmers in Easton, active agribusiness advocates and steward leaders with The Big Fresno Fair for over 70 years.

This surprise gift, which is also the largest family contribution recorded in Fair history, was announced Wednesday evening October 14, 2015, at the annual Past Board of Directors dinner held for the first time on the second floor of the new Fresno County Historical Museum at The Big Fresno Fair. The gift was presented by Ray and Debbie (Laub) Jacobsen on behalf of their family and Debbie’s (departed) parents Donald D. and Clara Laub.

The evening celebration led by John Alkire, CEO of The Big Fresno Fair and Brian I. Tatarian, President of the Friends of the Big Fresno Fair Board, concentrated on the stewardship of all past and present Fair Board members, including Debbie (Laub) Jacobsen who is completing her third term as a Board member and is a past President of the Board, in addition to Friends of the Big Fresno Fair Board members whose generous giving spirit has laid the foundation for the Fair and the new Fresno County Historical Museum, so that Fresno County’s past can be shared year-round. Current and past board members in attendance pledged their continued support to preserve the Fair and the Fresno County Historical Museum for future generations through steward leadership. This was commemorated by all in attendance signing their name on a preservation decree to be sealed in a time capsule and placed inside the Fresno County Historical Museum.

“Our family has lived, breathed and provided service to Fresno County from farming in the field to voicing concerns at the Capitol and supporting The Big Fresno Fair for more than seven decades,” said Debbie (Laub) Jacobsen, Big Fresno Fair Board Vice President and representative of the Jacobsen & Laub Family. “The construction of the new Fresno County Historical Museum has been very emotional for us as it culminates in one structure surrounded by a world-class Fair – so much of what our family stands for.

Our gift will live on in the Museum and our wish is for it to help foster continued stewardship to preserve the best of our County and agriculture for future generations.”

The Big Fresno Fair – Fresno County Historical Museum first opened to the public on Wednesday, October 7, 2015. The $2.8 million, 14,000 sq. ft., two-story structure sits just to the north of the beloved Paul Paul Theater and is a reflection of all aspects of Fresno County’s rich history from agriculture to public safety, the military, sports history and so much more. The construction of the Museum was the brainchild of Big Fresno Fair CEO John Alkire, whose vision along with the Jacobsen & Laub Family, was to create a place for the community to remember and learn about the history of the Fair, the County and to understand the importance of preserving, protecting and celebrating the rich traditions of our region.

“We are so grateful for the many years of service that the entire Jacobsen & Laub Family has provided to The Big Fresno Fair,” said John C. Alkire, CEO of The Big Fresno Fair. “Their family represents model steward leaders who give of their time, expertise and treasures for the benefit of so many. Without financial gifts like theirs and the many others that have come forward to help construct this incredible Museum filled with historical exhibits restored by those who have shared them, we would not be able to celebrate such a great feature at this year’s Big Fresno Fair. Their continued support of the Fair and generous gift will serve as a catalyst to inspire others to come forward to ensure that the Fresno County Historical Museum is forever filled with exhibits for generations to enjoy.”

The Fresno County Historical Museum is open to the public daily from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. with guided tours at 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. For more information on The Big Fresno Fair – Fresno County Historical Museum or how to donate please call (559) 650-FAIR or visit

“The foundation of The Big Fresno Fair – Fresno County Historical Museum, including every nail, steel beam and display, has been made possible by the hard work of our community,” concluded Brian I. Tatarian, President of Friends of the Big Fresno Fair. “Steward leadership is what makes our community better than the rest and the Jacobsen & Laub Family gift is a representation of that leadership. We thank all of those who have contributed to the success of the new Fresno County Historical Museum and in the spirit of the Jacobsen & Laub Family’s generosity; we encourage more to come forward to share their time, treasures and support with The Big Fresno Fair.”