VENTURA, Calif. - The 143rd Ventura County Fair is making noticeable cutbacks this year. They’re directly linked to the after-effects of the Thomas fire and the Montecito mudslides.
Just nine months ago the Ventura County Fairgrounds parking lot was covered in mud from the Montecito mudslides.
“We had the office emergency services bring the mud from the Montecito mudslides to the fairgrounds parking lot to process it and remove the large boulders and debris,” said James Lockwood, the Ventura County Fair Publicist. “Then they sent the debris off to the places that it needs to go.”
In the month before the Mudslides, the fairgrounds parking lot was full of fire personnel to battle the Thomas Fire. Months went by before the fairgrounds went back to normal.
“The event that we have here at the fairgrounds are dog shows, motorsport, and other shows,” said Lockwood. “They come in here and provide us with a source of revenue due to the parking from those events, and so we were not able to charge for parking for the entire of the beginning of the year up until now.”
To help cut back on costs the fair did away with its annual parade. And no more nightly fireworks. Shows now are only on the weekends.
“We are sorry to see these traditions go, but we think the community will understand,” said Lockwood. “When the community comes to the fair, and they realize that when they come and purchase a corndog or get on a ride the money that they are spending goes back into the community because it allows us to maintain the fairgrounds to the standards that are necessary during the times of emergency.”
For fairgoers, the new changes don’t seem to be a big deal.
“For us, the fireworks is not a big deal because we don’t stay very late,” said Jennifer Jewell, a resident from Santa Clarita.
“I think it’s safer just because of the possibility of fires,” said Chris Morin, a resident from Ventura resident. “I think it’s ok and we can live without it.”
Fewer fireworks also come after community concerns about environmental impacts and the effect on pets living close by. To help bring in more money the fair is sealing inscribed bricks that lay near the entrance. Proceeds will go back to the fair and will help out first responders if tragedy sticks again.
The last day of the Ventura County Fair will be Sunday. That firework show is set to begin at 10 p.m.