It wasn't smiling eight months ago when I joined the city delegation going to Sacramento to plead with the state not to sell the fairgrounds to the highest bidder, thus putting in jeopardy the very existence of the annual fair.
We've been on a wild ride in the ensuing months, determined to do what we possibly could to save the fair, protect the integrity of the event center, and retain the important facilities and community activities that take place there throughout the year: Centennial Farm, the Equestrian Center, the Pacific Amphitheatre, the weekend O.C. Market Place, the Youth Expo and others.
We didn't quit. It's not in Costa Mesa's DNA.
We were creative. We sought a solution — supported by voters who overwhelmingly approved Measure C — that would virtually guarantee that the O.C. Fair & Event Center continue to operate consistently with its traditions.
We sought and found a private investment partner who shared our vision, our approach, and helped us craft a purchase from the state — and lease agreement for the operation of the fairgrounds — that didn't cost our beleaguered taxpayers a penny.
As the fair starts Friday, I am more optimistic than ever that we will succeed. We are 90% there. If we can pull together in unity, we can accomplish what some thought unattainable just weeks ago. An imaginative, positive, constructive outcome is within our grasp.
One year ago, the city of Costa Mesa had no say — zero — over the state-run fairgrounds.