local businesses, this year's fair has not entirely followed the
notion that history repeats itself.
In fact, since the 2002 fair so far has drawn smaller crowds than
last year, the effect it traditionally has on local businesses hasn't
spanned out nearly as far as prior years.
One thing remains the same. Those businesses with products in high
demand and short supply are surviving, while those that provide
customers with the same thing the fair offers continue to struggle.
The 24-hour access to the neighboring convenience stores and fast
food restaurants continued to bring in business from carnival and
fair workers, as they have in prior years, while the numerous vendors
that participate in the Orange County Marketplace have yet again
faced a three-week deficit. But restaurants farther away from the
fairgrounds haven't met their traditional fair-time fate .
Usually suffering a hard hit this time of year, the family-owned
Newport Rib Co. in Costa Mesa has not felt the pain yet.
"In past years the Fish Fry and first few weeks of the fair hit us
hard," said one of the restaurant's owners, John Ursini. "This year
it didn't affect us too much."
And the reason for that change?
"I guess in this business you just don't ask why," Ursini said.
But for some businesses that usually feel the presence of the
fair, the change seems rather clear.
"Years ago it really affected us, but it's gotten really expensive
in there so it hasn't affected us as much," said Cesar Gallardo,
manager at El Matador in Costa Mesa. "We've been getting a lot of
people from the beach coming in."
With the help of increased seasonal business from Newport Beach
funneling in, Gallardo believes his restaurant has managed to
maintain some normalcy.
Normalcy that the Newport Rib Co. has tried to maintain on its own
For the last four years, Newport Rib Co. has catered for about 100
carnival and game employees both at the beginning and end of the fair
in an effort to regain some of the loses it suffers during the fair's
operation, but it has not been enough to break even.