Guy Fieri visits Sonoma County Fair, spends $30,000 at pig auction

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri visited the Sonoma County Fair’s Summer Fun Fest on Sunday, spending at least $30,000 at the pig auction after getting a letter from a local student involved in the event.

The Sonoma County resident attended the livestock auction with family and friends, including former San Francisco Giants all-star Rich Aurilia, to support Future Farmers of America and 4-H clubs from all over the region that showed their animals at the Santa Rosa event.

Fieri showed up after getting a letter from Frances Marshall, a member of Sebastopol FFA who encouraged the celebrity chef to attend the event at the fairgrounds.

“At that time, he told Frances he receives hundreds of letters each year, but her letter was so well written he wanted to make sure he attended and supported her,” said Heidi Mickelson, Sebastopol FFA advisor, in an email.

The Food Network star paid $10,000 for one of Marshall’s top pigs, Chevy.

“It was a great morale boost for the kids to see those types of powerful individuals that are giving back to their local community and giving back to youth in agriculture,“ said Lisa Piehl, agriculture teacher and FFA adviser at Santa Rosa High School.

Fieri and his friends bought 16 hogs in the auction. He said on Instagram that he would be donating the pigs to local charities.

“It’s amazing to see the kids showing their animals!” Fieri captioned a photo at the fair.

The entourage accompanying the chef included Aurilia, Allen Henderson of American Asphalt, Brian McDonald of McDonald Construction, Dan Kosta of Alden Alli Wines, along with his wife and sons.

Piehl said she hopes Fieri’s attendance will encourage more local businesses and chefs to participate in the auction in the future.

Students normally reach out to potential buyers through alumni networks to encourage them to come buy the livestock, Piehl said, and Fieri told students he would continue to support them in the future.

“It was a delightful surprise that they came to support us,” Piehl said.

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