Fair eliminating Fair Parade and reducing the number of fireworks shows

Fair fireworks to be on weekends only. Photo by Bernie Goldstein

“A Country Fair with Ocean Air,” the Ventura County Fairgrounds is well known as a great place for 12 days of fun every August, it is known for the host of events throughout the year from dog shows and car shows to swap meets and private events like weddings and quinceaneras. The Fairgrounds stands ready for another very important role all year long – a safe haven during emergencies and at times of natural disaster.

The Ventura County Fairgrounds receives no tax dollars or any other State funding. The Fair and maintenance of the Fairgrounds is made possible by self-generating funds.

To best serve the public in all of these capacities the Fairgrounds is making some hard decisions on how to responsibly use the funds generated through the year. Properly maintaining the Fairgrounds is most important to ensure its safety and readiness in good times and in times of crisis. To that end the Fairgrounds has regretfully announced it will reduce spending by eliminating the Fair Parade and reducing the number of Fireworks shows.

The decision to discontinue the Parade came after many years of declining attendance and rising costs of producing the parade. “The parade was always one of our favorite traditions and we have always been proud of the spirit and talent that was shared with the community.”​

Fireworks shows have also been a favorite highlight of the Fair. Many looked forward to seeing the colorful displays in the summer sky. At the same time concerned citizens have requested the shows be modified for various reasons including environmental considerations. With the rising costs of producing 12 shows and in response to community sentiment the number of shows has been limited to weekends.

Our recent memories of the Thomas Fire are a good example of how the Fairgrounds quickly assumes the emergency support role with serious attention. Residents of the evacuation areas came to the Fairgrounds and were provided with compassionate direction. More than 8,500 First Responders, Red Cross, and Ventura County Animal Services were supported in their efforts by the quick and attentive Fairgrounds staff. Clean buildings, electricity, showers and living spaces were furnished promptly without question or pause, providing accommodation to the thousands of evacuees and responders.

The Ventura County Fairgrounds immediately became the safe place where mothers, fathers, grandparents and children took refuge as they were forced to evacuate their homes. With no time to hesitate, “Go to the Fairgrounds” was the imperative message on everybody’s lips.

It is because of the funds raised by the annual Ventura County Fair, the Derby Club (simulcast horse racing and betting) and the events we all enjoy throughout the year that the fairgrounds is able to provide the prompt emergency services that are necessary during wildfires, floods, mudslides, extreme heat and other natural disasters.

“We take our role of supporting the community very seriously,” says Fairgrounds CEO Barbara Quaid, adding “We are here for the people of Ventura County in times of need, we are going to drop everything and focus on that. “

“We are grateful to the residents of Ventura County for generous patronage of the Fairgrounds throughout the year. Every corn dog and every carnival ride enjoyed at the Fair is another monetary contribution to Ventura County Fair. Because of that continued support we are able to provide necessary services in good times and in times of need.”

Everybody is invited to continue the tradition by participating in the Fair as an exhibitor, a volunteer or visit www.venturacountyfair.org to learn of the many ways you can support the Fair.

The 2018 Ventura County Fair, “A Country Fair with Ocean Air,” opens Wednesday, August 1 for 12 days until Sunday, August 12. For information please visit www.venturacountyfair.org or call 648-3376.

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