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Scaled-Back Version : Valley Fair Turns Sights to Hansen Dam

Times Staff Writer

Hansen Dam Park may be the 1989 site for a downsized version of the San Fernando Valley Fair if organizers can win the support of the park’s neighbors, an official said Thursday.

The board of directors of the 51st District Agricultural Assn., the fair’s sponsor, decided this week to pursue the Hansen Dam site as an alternative to the Pierce College campus in Woodland Hills. The Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees last month denied permission for the fair to use the college.

“We have to do something for the young people and the people who exhibit at the fair,” said Robert Wilkinson, chairman of the fair board’s relocation committee. “We’re committed. We have an obligation to them.”

Hundreds of youths, who have been raising livestock in anticipation of selling the animals at the fair’s auction, stand to lose money if the fair is not held. About 2,200 youths entered various livestock and horticultural competitions last year.

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But the fair must move this year because expansion at Cal State Northridge forced it from its longtime site at Devonshire Downs.

Close at 8 Nightly

Wilkinson said the fair, as planned, would have “no rides, no carnival, no liquor and no big concerts” and would close at 8 each night.

Fair board members have met with the staff of the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department and with representatives of 7th District City Councilman Ernani Bernardi to discuss the Hansen Dam site. Wilkinson said fair planners were told to seek approval from homeowners in the area.

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“It’s premature to make a judgment on it because the fair organizers have not gone to the community,” said Dave Mays, chief deputy to Bernardi. But other public activities attracting tens of thousands of people have been held at the park without a major incident, he said.

“It sounds like something that would be compatible with the rural . . . surrounding community,” Mays said.

Phyllis Hines, co-chairwoman of a Lake View Terrace Improvement Assn. land-use committee, agreed, but said such issues as parking, cleanup and hours would have to be discussed before she would be willing to give the fair the go-ahead. She said the association has not taken a position on the issue.

Lewis Snow, first vice president of the Lake View Terrace Home Owners Assn., said he supports holding the fair at Hansen Dam this year. But he said he does not favor locating the fair there permanently.

“If they’re talking about moving here for one year . . . I have a couple of questions I would like answered, but I don’t see any major problems,” said Snow, who also said he is not speaking for the association.

Snow said he will arrange a meeting between both homeowners groups and the fair board.


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