It was revenge of the surfers Wednesday night, as waves of fans--flowing into the Pacific Amphitheater to hear the Beach Boys and into the nearby County Fair to hear Jan and Dean--caused a gridlock on Fair Drive and Fairview Road and congestion on the Costa Mesa Freeway, police said.
The traffic problems started about 6:30 p.m., and by 8:45 the fair parking lots were filled. Police turned people away for a short time, though the lots reopened later, fair spokeswoman Jill Lloyd said.
The fair's 6 p.m. attendance count for Wednesday was 16,701, up from 10,153 logged at the same time in 1985. Amphitheater officials said more than the anticipated 14,000 fans packed their facility. But it was no surprise for them.
Amphitheater callers heard a taped message that said: "We recommend you allow yourself plenty of time for the drive, because we do expect a lot of traffic due to the Orange County Fair."
Said Nathan Arnold, city Fire Department communications officer: "It was a good thing we didn't have many medical emergencies. If we did, we wouldn't have been able to get there. They have the fair going on with Jan and Dean and the amphitheater with the Beach Boys, and they didn't have enough parking spots for them all. We have gridlock."
Police Sgt. Matt Collett said he did not expect the traffic problems to end until the Beach Boys concert let out at 10:30 p.m.