| For Your Information: Board of Director's Meeting - Jan. 26, 2012
During our monthly Board of Director’s meetings, members of the public often express concern, make statements or offer suggestions about specific issues or programs. There is not often time at these meetings to answer many of these items.
The staff of the OC Fair & Event center will use this blog to provide some clarification about statements made at public meetings. Please feel free to post questions on the blog.
Heard at the January 26, 2012 Board meeting:
Q: Is the OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC) planning on paving over the equestrian center (EQC)?
A: In January 2009, the OCFEC Board of Directors authorized an Equestrian Center Land Use Environmental study including an EQC alternative. As stated in the January staff report regarding this item, “it is important to note the action recommended in the proposal is limited to study with no presumption of the outcome or eventual future of the equestrian center.”
At the February 2009 meeting, the Board of Directors voted to approve the SEIR Notice of Preparation for Alternative Land use of Equestrian Center. The February staff report stated “The initiation of the SEIR process is described as the Notice of Preparation in which a communication is disseminated, engaging the public to participate in the study and notifies them of the initial scoping meeting that will further define the project.”
OCFEC did not take the above action step and, at this point, no further action has been taken by the Board of Directors regarding this matter.
Q: What does OCFEC do to provide agricultural education?
A: Each year, more than 50,000 elementary school students visit Centennial Farm for free as part of our Jr. Farmer Tour program and Centennial Farm Discovery Days program.
Jr. Farmer Tours are reserved for kindergarten through third grade. On a Jr. Farmer Tour children are guided by volunteer docents through the farm, our barns, animal pens and crops. During the tour, children get to plant radishes, hold a chick and learn all about how agriculture is incorporated into their daily lives.
Centennial Farm Discovery Days are open to all grade levels, as well as the general public. On designated days, Centennial Farm Discovery Days run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. During this time, children and adults can see a milking demonstration, pet a chick and learn about plants and animals from any of our many docents stationed around Centennial Farm.
Additionally, 80 children from Costa Mesa schools participate in the Ranch After School program. The program currently serves 4th, 5th and 6th grade students. Participants are introduced to livestock and gardening responsibilities throughout the session. During this time, children will be able to create crafts in a leather workshop, learn how to care for and ride a horse, grow their own garden from seed and care for a variety of livestock animals.
Centennial Farm is open to the public and is free of charge. Centennial Farm is a three-acre working farm at OCFEC created to educate youth about agriculture and its importance to daily life. The Farm is home to fruit and vegetable gardens, livestock, and the Millennium Barn. Children and adults can view pigs, chickens, cattle, goats and more while strolling though gardens of lush vegetation. Click here for more information including tour information, volunteer opportunities, and public hours.
The annual Youth Expo event and the OC Fair offer agricultural and livestock competitions and exhibits.
Q: Who is invited to the Foster Family event?
A: The primary target audience of “A Fair to Remember” (the in augural Foster Family event that debuted to much success in 2011) was Orange County foster families. Using a list provided by the Orange County Social Services Agency, OCFEC invited approximately 12,000 foster kids and their families to this event. Additionally, adoption groups, Social Service employees and local elected officials were invited. The total attendance for the inaugural event was approximately 8,200. We look forward to the second event during the 2012 OC Fair.
Q: Parking is an issue at OCFEC. Why doesn’t OCFEC make use of public transportation?
A: In 2011, the OC Fair once again worked with OCTA to provide the OC Fair Flyer Express Direct bus service to the OC Fair. Fairgoers were able to ride the OC Fair Express to the OC Fair for $1.50 each way from six Orange County locations: Anaheim, Orange, Huntington Beach, Fullerton, Santa Ana and San Juan Capistrano and received a voucher for $2 admission into the Fair. The service operated hourly on Friday from 3 p.m. to midnight, and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to midnight. More than 25,000 fairgoers took advantage of this program in 2011.
Q: What about tearing down and closing 1/2 of the equestrian center during the Fair to park the trailers for camping?
A: An operational agreement between the Equestrian Center operator and OCFEC, allows us to use a portion of the center for camping during the annual OC Fair. As part of this agreement, the operator does not pay any rent to OCFEC for July and August. Other than initial improvements in 2009 including sewer and electrical access, using this area for camping requires no construction or demolition. After each Fair, we replace arena sand as necessary at no cost to the Equestrian Center operator.
Q: If parking is an issue, why don’t you use the parking lots at Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa High School and Davis School?
A: We do.
Regarding Orange Coast College, as per an operational agreement, during the annual OC Fair and other major events, employees, vendors, and fairgoers use various lots on the OCC campus for parking and storage. Reciprocally, OCC uses our parking lot for student parking during the school year.
Davis School was used for parking and storage during the Fair but as a result of improvements on their sports fields, available space has been severely reduced to avoid wear and tear to the property.
Traditionally, Costa Mesa High School has been used for overflow parking during the OC Fair but in 2011, access was limited due to construction at the campus.
Finally, the OC Fair offers offsite parking for customers at the Experian lot off the 405 freeway. A free shuttle transports fairgoers to and from this lot during the Fair.