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Salata's wonderful life

Irrelevant Week

The man behind Irrelevant Week makes it fun, perhaps because of his intriguing past.

June 14, 2011|By Steve Virgen, steve.virgen@latimes.com
(Daily Pilot File…)

There is irony usually intertwined with Irrelevant Week when you think of the owner of the quirky concept.

Who could find relevance with so much laughter, joking and silliness? Look deep. Look at the man who owns the trademark of Mr. Irrelevant and Irrelevant Week.

Paul Salata, 84, has built a nationally known product based on celebrating someone for no reason at all. It seems crazy to think there could be so much fun when throwing a huge party for the final pick of the NFL Draft. But look deeper, find Salata, and you realize why it's so much fun.

Salata, a Newport Beach resident, has lived his life like a long party. Along the way he made some significant accomplishments. Along the way, he experienced hurt and despair. Along the way he found a way to win.

It was just a decade ago he beat cancer, tackled it like he does each day: with humor and a carefree attitude.

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Now he enters the 36th Irrelevant Week, which starts Monday at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort. The NFL has noticed the tireless work Salata and his family have put into Irrelevant Week and the league wants to be a bigger part of it.

Salata wants to keep the zany week in Newport Beach. Salata, with the help of family and friends, is trying to prove to the NFL that the beach town is the perfect place for Irrelevant Week.

"I never thought about it lasting," Salata said of Irrelevant Week. "I thought that much about our town. How can anyone not like it?"

Some just like the week because it means a good time. Some like it because of Salata. When you look deep, you know there is a good time with that name.

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GROWING UP IN L.A.

Tucked away in a small Newport Beach office, there are pictures and awards that decorate the rooms in a place referred to as Irrelevant Week Headquarters. Amid all the pictures, there is a poster board displaying a few old photos of Salata's life.

His daughter, Melanie Salata Fitch, points to each boy in a photo and smiles as she talks about each uncle.

"Uncle Pete looked like dad but he had a mustache," Melanie says. "And, he had a great sense of humor."

So is that where Salata gets it from?

Salata responds with a sly smile before providing one of his many zingers.

"I don't know if it works or not," Salata says of his humor. "But it's better now because you can lie a lot because there are no witnesses left. They're all gone."

Salata doesn't laugh much when he talks about growing up in Los Angeles. It's a point in his life he just uses a matter-of-fact tone when talking about it.

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