But not every fair boasts a staple quite like Bill Peters, who has exhibited at least one painting, photograph, collage, short story, poem or drawing – and more often than not, one or two of each – every year since 1961.
“I have a lot of hobbies,” the Brentwood resident said, adding that he started exhibiting his art decades ago to get his students to do the same. His example has inspired nearly a half-century of fond memories for him and many of his students from Liberty High School, where he taught for 34 years, and Independence, where’s he been teaching part-time for the last 15.
Peters is familiar with other fairs, but Contra Costa’s is closest to his heart. “I’ve been to a lot of fairs, and Contra Costa might not be the biggest, but I don’t think there’s any one better,” he said.
The fair’s CEO, Lori Marshall, said the feeling is mutual. “He’s been a great inspiration to his students and all of us at the fair,” Marshall said. “Bill, and people like him, give the fair its flavor and make it the enduring community event that it is.”
Peters will put a host of work on display at this summer’s fair, including two oil paintings, a collage, a pastel and a number of photographs in black and white, and color. And while the initial idea always is to show for the fun of it, the prolific exhibitor admits he gets caught up in the excitement when it comes time to announce the winners. Still, he doesn’t sell his work. His blue-ribbon winners are given away as gifts year after year.
And speaking of years, Peters plans to continue his exhibiting tradition well after he hits his half-century mark. Or, as he likes to put it, “As long as I’m upright, I don’t see any reason to stop.”
Check out Peters’ works of art, along with those of countless other Contra Costa residents’, June 3-6 at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds. For more information, call 925-757-4400.