Community Commentary: 'The Fair is dead, long live the Fair'

October 14, 2010|By Steven Beazley

The fairgrounds sale is now in its 18th mind-numbing month. Still, it is difficult to understand the events leading up to today. As one who spent that 18 months at the vortex, I will spare you the hundreds of details, save for a few, even though there are hundreds to spare while trying to explain. Themes seem to be best way to tell the story.

At the risk of seeming trite or glib, this is no more than history repeating itself. While the Orange County Fair introduces a new, fresh theme each year, the fairgrounds' sale carries epic and timeless themes, ones that have made for some of best literary fare in history. We need only take a walk through time to understand where we stand today.

"The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together"

"All's Well that Ends Well"

William Shakespeare

Whether you liken the sale to the tragedy of King Lear or A Comedy of Errors, one thing is for sure: the number of plotlines, twists and turns and surprising outcomes has taken on Shakespearean proportions and keeps us guessing about how the epilogue will unfold. Worse, none of us can turn pages to see how it all ends. It is being written with each day.


"These are the times that try Men's Souls"

"The American Crisis"

Thomas Paine

Paine's statement of the American Revolution expressed the fight for independence from Great Britain, testing and exposing those who believed as well as those who scoffed at the dream.

The dream of local governance and freedom to meet the needs of the community produced uncompromising characters seeking succession and an invocation of courage to venture into the unknown. With the victory that birthed America, history now only tells of those brave hearts and souls who succeeded by establishing local control, never of those who criticized with an argument of status quo and better the devil we know. They knew there is no status quo in real time; only photos and statues stay status quo.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

"A Tale of Two Cities"

Charles Dickens

The opening line of Dickens' masterpiece on the French Revolution may have surprised many readers as it reminded us that even times of extreme strife, there is still room for the best in life. While the "Fair Revolution" wages and rages on, we have just seen the most extraordinary watershed period in the fair's history.

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