No Carnival : Valley Fair Board Votes for Smaller, Agricultural Event

Times Staff Writer

The governing board of the San Fernando Valley Fair voted Monday to hold a scaled-down event to accommodate farm exhibits and some food concessions this summer, but the fair remains without a home after it was denied use of a 30-acre site at Pierce College last week.

The 1989 fair would allow agriculture buffs to show their farm animals and produce but would not include popular carnival rides and games, said Robert M. Wilkinson, a board member of the 51st District Agricultural Assn., the fair’s sponsor.

“Forget about any carnival or anything like that,” Wilkinson said. A smaller “exhibitors’ fair” should be held “to keep a commitment to the young people . . . the people who have raised animals.” Wilkinson predicted that people will attend the fair despite its not having a carnival.

Hundreds of San Fernando Valley youths, who have been raising livestock in anticipation of selling the animals at the fair’s auction, stand to lose money if no fair is held. At last year’s fair, about 2,200 youths entered various livestock and horticultural contests.


On Wednesday, Los Angeles Community College District trustees rejected a proposal by the fair to use the Pierce College land in Woodland Hills. Fair organizers had anticipated using the site since learning two years ago that the event would be evicted this year from its longtime home at Devonshire Downs, where Cal State Northridge is planning an expansion.

The college trustees said they believe that the 4 1/2-day fair’s educational benefits do not outweigh the negative impact its noise and traffic would have on the community. They said they might consider hosting the event if it were scaled back considerably, to eliminate the carnival.

On Monday, the fair board voted 6 to 1 to eliminate the carnival and stage a fair with agricultural events and some food concessions. The vote did not include mention of a site and did not call for reopening negotiations with Pierce.

“I would not be in favor of going back to Pierce because of the way they treated us,” Wilkinson said.


Fair organizers hope to identify a possible site within the next month, fair consultant Ted Nauman said.

Isabel Boniface, the only fair board member to vote against eliminating the carnival, said the board should concentrate on finding a place for a full-fledged fair in 1990. She also was skeptical of whether the fair can find a site and raise enough funds in time to hold the event in July as scheduled.