By TONY TAGLAVORE
For 31 years, the Giordano family—first Sam, then his son, Chris—has managed the State Fair of Louisiana.
That run is coming to an end.
The Shreveport-Bossier Journal has learned that Chris Giordano is leaving as the organization’s general manager. Liz Swaine, Chairman of the Board of the State Fair of Louisiana, told the Journal Sunday that Giordano turned in his letter of resignation a few days ago.
“Chris resigned,” Swaine said. “I believe he is looking ahead to the next chapter in his life, and we wish him all the best.”
When contacted Sunday, Giordano declined to be interviewed. In a Sunday morning Facebook post, Giordano alluded to his imminent departure.
“27 years of service—it’s time for a new chapter to begin and I’m looking forward to it!” Giordano wrote.
Sam Giordano was the fair’s general manager for 14 years, from 1992 until his death in 2006. Chris, who worked with his father, then became the general manager.
“He has worked very hard for a number of years at the state fair, and I think he is looking for the next thing he is going to be focusing on,” Swaine said. “We hope his life is fabulous, and we’re very supportive of what his next chapter will be.”
Each fall, the State Fair of Louisiana is home to a variety of rides, games, and attractions along the fairgrounds midway. It also hosts livestock competitions and a rodeo. Throughout the year, the State Fair hosts other events and manages several venues at the fairgrounds.
The Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl—Independence Stadium is on the fairgrounds—worked with Giordano leading up to, and including, gameday.
“We’ve worked with him for many years,” said Missy Setters, Executive Director of the Independence Bowl Foundation. “He handled parking, tailgating, building rentals, etc. I’ve known Chris and worked with Chris for a long time and have always enjoyed working with him. He treated the Independence Bowl well and we will miss working with him going forward.”
This year’s fair is scheduled for Oct. 26-Nov. 12.
“We will likely vote to have an interim state fair general manager and president because the fall state fair is just a few months away,” Swaine said. “Then, the board will likely want to do a national search.
“There is a national state fair organization with which people with all the skills necessary for a successful Louisiana State Fair would be affiliated. That would be the place for us to put the job posting. I imagine that will happen in the next four to six weeks …We will need a state fair general manager fairly quickly.”
This year will mark the 117th edition of the fair. Swaine said a change in leadership opens the door to a change in direction.
“I think any time you have a change, especially a change at the top, it gives you an opportunity to take a look at every process and determine if that is the way you want to go in the future,” Swaine said. “We knew the letter of resignation was coming, so I and some other board members have had a chance to sit down with the state fair employees and say, ‘We are open to suggestions. If there are interesting changes you have been thinking about, if there are opportunities you feel like the state fair should reach out and grab, now would be the time.’
“Basically, the old way of doing business can change now, because we’re going to have new blood, new people potentially, in some of the positions. It just gives us an opportunity to start over again.”
Contact Tony at SBJTonyT@gmail.com