DEL MAR — Veteran newsman and retired The Coast News columnist Bill Arballo was recognized for his decades of service to the Del Mar Fairgrounds by the 22nd District Agricultural Association at its Feb. 8 board of directors meeting.
Arballo and his family moved to Del Mar from Oceanside in 1933 when he was 9 years old. Throughout his childhood he held a variety of jobs, including two paper routes, delivering milk, selling seeds and magazines door to door and working at the Del Mar Drugstore.
He was at the fairgrounds for the groundbreaking ceremony trying to sell newspapers. “Bill literally grew up with the fair,” Tim Fennell, fairgrounds chief executive officer, said.
Arballo served as an Army medic from 1942 to 1944 and was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star. Shortly after returning to Del Mar he set up the original public relations department for the Southern California Exposition, now known as the San Diego County Fair.
After nearly two decades, he went on to pursue other career opportunities, including working as a correspondent for United Press International in Hawaii. He once again returned to Del Mar, where he served as the city’s third mayor.
Arballo began covering community events for his The Coast News column, “Eye on the Coast,” and could regularly be found in the front row, first chair closest to the door, during the 22nd DAA monthly meetings.
“I could probably count on one hand the number of times in my 13 years on this board I didn’t see him here,” Barry Nussbaum, board president, said. “It’s been a pleasure to sit here and stare at your smiling face. Your presence is really appreciated.”
Fennell described Arballo as a “very, very special friend of this fair and the community” and thanked him for his outstanding services.
Arballo was presented with a framed aerial photograph of the facility and a new Del Mar Fairgrounds jacket. Oversized copies of the many news articles written about Arballo were displayed in the meeting room.
Arballo retired from The Coast News in November 2010.