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Sheriff’s Department Report Criticizes Event

Times Staff Writer

The Renaissance Pleasure Faire, known for its six weeks of springtime Elizabethan revelry and merrymaking, is casting around for a home in Ventura County, but the Sheriff’s Department there is recommending caution.

A departmental report criticizes the event, held for 25 years in a National Park Service meadow near Agoura Hills, for congesting roadways, intoxicating visitors and leaving in its wake a trail of unpaid bills.

Collect Fees in Advance

The department recommended that the city of Moorpark--near which the fair has leased a 130-acre field--collect any necessary fees in advance. It also recommended that permits to dispense alcohol be issued only on a week-to-week basis.

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Renaissance Pleasure Faire spokesman Eric Stoltz said the allegations in the report to the Moorpark City Council “really upsets me. . . . It’s gotten a little out of hand.”

Stoltz said the accusations are “like people accusing us of witchcraft.” He described the report as “totally fictional and inaccurate.”

The Moorpark City Council on Wednesday night is to consider recommending that county officials bar the event.

The county’s Board of Supervisors has not yet set a hearing on the issue because the event’s organizer, the Living History Centre of Novato, Calif., has not yet applied for the required permits.

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The Sheriff’s Department report stated that “while incidents of public intoxication and fights are generally condoned within the fair site as adding to its ambiance, the drunk drivers leaving the fair become the concern of the local police and other law enforcement.”

The report added that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officers, who were in charge of traffic control when the fair was in Agoura Hills, “were unable to take action against suspected drunk drivers without abandoning their posts and negatively impacting the flow of traffic.”

Organizers of the fair, which has drawn more than 300,000 visitors, have said they want the event to run for eight weekends, rather than the usual six, beginning May 6.

In discussions with the county, they said they need to be at the site for six weeks before the fair’s opening and six weeks after its closure to remove temporary facilities.

However, that rankles Moorpark residents, who fear that workers living at the site will drive crime rates up in nearby subdivisions.

“These people are transients,” Moorpark Mayor Eloise Brown said.

Bills Not Paid, Report Says

The sheriff’s report said that traffic control supplied by Los Angeles County consisted of one sergeant and five deputies working 12-hour shifts on an overtime basis.

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“At the conclusion of the 1987 Renaissance Pleasure Faire, after receiving Los Angeles County’s invoice for services, the fair’s promoters refused payment,” the report stated. “To date, Los Angeles County has not received payment for law enforcement services provided in 1987.”


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