This year's Orange County Fair has shaped up to be one for the books. I would be hard-pressed to imagine a future fair with more success attached to it. Not that attendance won't rise or new attractions won't be presented, but because this year's success is teamed with the 120-year-old tradition's greatest challenge: The sale, now referred to as the "community gut check."
While a cloudy, cool summer has certainly lent to the success of this year's fair, dark clouds of uncertainty loomed above it. This has summoned superheroes to break through the clouds to save the day: the Fair staff (The Team).
The Fair Team has held the ship steady in rocky waters and made the fair feel so inviting and neighborly, you'd think you were attending a backyard barbecue as much as an OC mega-event.
This is the great American story, folks. Middle class toil during leadership turmoil. If JFK were writing his "Profiles in Courage" essays today, he would, no doubt, include an entry on the Fair Team. Grace under pressure, nose to grindstone and focus during fracas all come to mind as descriptors for this group of people who thrive on and strive to make their community smile. During this maelstrom, psyches are bruised, spirits invigorated.
Many have commented to me that the enjoyment of this fair has exceeded all others, though they can't specifically point to a reason why.
I can. It's the vibe.
The ever elusive vibe is not something to be bought or brought in. It's in the organic exuding of spirit, joy. Guess who is excelling at that? Yep, you got it.
The Beach Boys hit, "Good Vibrations," says "I'm picking up good vibrations, she's giving me excitations…."
So this record-setting fair belongs to the whole community for its participation, but the 2010 OC Fair highlights the people who struggled day and night to keep a wobbling fair upright. This is a story of the triumph of the human spirit, all at your local county fair.
And finally, we have been saying time and time again, no matter what the future holds, now two things are certain: The Beat Goes On. The Team Goes on…
STEVE BEAZLEY is president and chief executive of the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.