A rally and march to support
The Southern California Make America Great Again March — one of about 40 affiliated events scheduled nationwide for March 25 — will run from noon to 3 p.m. at Bolsa Chica State Beach.
"Our goal is to bring together and unite all of the folks that were the silent majority," said Laguna Beach resident Jennifer Sterling, one of the local event's organizers. "I don't think the majority of us know who each other are, so the focus is to bring like-minded folks together that want to support our president, vice president, our military, our veterans, our law enforcement and first responders. That's the No. 1 goal."
An official at Bolsa Chica State Beach confirmed that the march has necessary permits and will take place on the beach's multiuse trail.
Originally, the march was expected to be near the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa. Fairgrounds officials announced last week that they would close the property on March 25 and 26 in anticipation of the event.
This week, a post on the march's Facebook page said organizers were "uninvited to march" near the fairgrounds "by an organization that had previously agreed to partner with us."
A representative of the event declined to elaborate.
Sterling said Thursday that several other locations were considered but organizers decided Bolsa Chica's sandy shores and scenic vistas provide the perfect backdrop.
"We just decided that Huntington was going to be the best for us," she said. "I also have to give a lot of props to Bolsa Chica State Beach, because they were very inviting and very collaborative with us. They were willing to do everything they could to accommodate us."
The march is going to be a "peaceful, family-friendly event," Sterling added. Donations will be collected to benefit veterans and the homeless, she said.
Though the march will now be held miles from the Fair & Event Center, it will remain closed that weekend, fairgrounds spokeswoman Terry Moore said Thursday.
"It had been publicized as being located here, and there were still a lot of comments on Facebook and on the web about a Costa Mesa rally, so there was concern that everybody would not get the word and people would still show up here," Moore said. "We just want to make sure the public is safe."
On April 28, the fairgrounds played host to a Trump campaign rally that drew thousands of his supporters to the Pacific Amphitheatre.
Following the fracas, the Orange County Fair Board adopted new policies outlining how to better manage high-profile events in the future.
Along with closing regular attractions such as Centennial Farm and the Heroes Hall veterans museum on March 25 and 26, the Fair & Event Center canceled events scheduled for that weekend, including the Orange County Wine Society's Wine Extraordinaire, the Crossroads of the West Gun Show and the weekly Orange County Market Place swap meet.
It's unclear whether the wine event will be rescheduled. Crossroads of the West, which has shows throughout the Southwest, still plans to stop at the fairgrounds in June, August and October, according to its website.
The planned fairgrounds closure first came to light during a Fair Board meeting Feb. 23. At that time, Fair & Event Center Chief Executive Kathy Kramer said the decision was made after consulting with the Costa Mesa Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff's Department and other agencies.
Moore said Thursday that it's "within our contractual rights to cancel the events" and that the Fair & Event Center is working with those organizers to find different dates, if possible.
"If it's going to be a matter of public safety, I think our vendors will understand," she said.