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Press Release

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March 21, 2019


Media contact:

Kevin Patterson 415-725-2284


Cow Palace Supporters Rally Public and State Senators

To Save the Beloved and Important Cultural Icon


Sacramento, CA -- For almost 80 years, the world famous Cow Palace has stood as a Bay Area cultural icon, entertainment venue, and even as an emergency shelter.


Now a bill by State Senator Scott Wiener and others would give control of the very first State Fairground - District 1-A - to a new “Authority” whose purpose would be to “bull” doze the popular destination to make room for future condos and a strip mall. The bill will have its first hearing at the State Capital on March 27th in the Government and Finance committee.


The Cow Palace has educated and entertained millions throughout its storied history. It is the current home to the Grand National Rodeo, the Golden Gate Dog Show, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, music festivals, athletic competitions, trade shows, and large-scale corporate parties. U2 headlined a recent concert during Salesforces’ Dreamforce, raising $10 million dollars for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. It may be under appreciated, but it is not underutilized.


Until need arises, most do not appreciate the fact that the 68-acre State Fairground serves as part of the local emergency response plan, ready to shelter thousands and function as a major command post after a large earthquake or other disaster.


The Cow Palace also serves the community through job creation, tax revenues, multi-cultural events, and priceless moments shared from parents to children, who return each year to create new memories at its perennial events. New shows and public uses are proposed every year and the venue is completely self-supporting, taking no money from State coffers.


The proposed legislation SB-281 would open the door to development interests who would likely tear down this invaluable public resource to develop housing and retail. The lead purpose of the bill is to ban gun shows at the facility, a decision that currently rests with the Cow Palace board. The second purpose of the bill is to create a new governing “Authority” that would take control of the land from the State Fairground board and begin development planning.


“Its not right to ban both gun shows and all public events, pick one issue, but don’t hide a land grab in a gun show bill,” says Kevin Patterson Executive Director of the Save The Cow Palace Coalition. The coalition’s website,‬‬‬ is asking for calls and letters to the politicians proposing the bill. “The Cow Palace is our shelter, our showcase, and an invaluable community resource,” says Patterson. “It should be protected and enhanced for future generations, not destroyed for short term gain.”


The Coalition believes the bill should be amended to focus solely on gun shows. If that happens they would support it.  Their desire is for the Cow Palace to continue as a uniquely affordable event center for the increasingly expensive Bay Area - and as an irreplaceable emergency shelter in an already dense urban area. 


To further the argument that the bill is redundant, the Cow Palace board is considering a retail development on part of its property that would raise revenue for upgrades to the facility and provide needed retail for the area.  “It’s a win-win-win for the whole community” says Patterson. “The Cow Palace continues revitalized, the neighborhood gets needed retail, and the gun shows go away.”


Call or write your local State legislator regarding SB-281. Visit‬‬‬ for details on how to take action.


Contact: Kevin Patterson, Executive Director, Save the Cow Palace Coalition.



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