FOUNTAIN VALLEY : Fiesta Attendance Lower Than Expected

The pig races were a hit. The Fourth of July fireworks show drew a huge crowd. But organizers of the annual Fountain Valley Fiesta said the weekend event at Mile Square Regional Park attracted a smaller--and disappointing--crowd than expected.

The 11th annual holiday fiesta, sponsored by the Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce, attracted about 30,000 people during the four-day event--not the 50,000 organizers expected, said Margie Hopkins, fiesta coordinator.

Attendance for the event, held Thursday through the July 4th holiday, was about the same as last year, Hopkins said.

She said the lower-than-expected attendance could be due to the economy--people not having the extra money to spend. While admission--$4 for adults and $1 for children and seniors--was the same as last year, she said the gate prices could also have been a deterrent.

Next year, Hopkins said, the chamber will consider lowering ticket prices.

"Overall, other than a little bit lower attendance than we would have liked to have, (the fiesta) ran very smoothly. It was a very good success, and it met our expectations," she said.

Hopkins said the only problems were some complaints about noise last Thursday by nearby residents. But she said the complaints were taken care of by turning volumes down, placing speakers on the ground and repositioning them so the sound wouldn't carry as far.

"We had no police problems or crowd-control problems," she said.

For the Fourth of July fireworks display, Hopkins said residents contributed more than $5,000 toward the $12,000 cost.

She said that amount was the highest received. Donation requests were mailed with water bills, she said.

Hopkins said that while the chamber puts on the event as a community service, profits would go toward the chamber's business programs, such as sponsoring seminars for the local business community.

She said it will take about a month to determine whether the chamber made a profit from the event.

Hopkins said the event also benefits about 30 Fountain Valley service organizations. The chamber gave free booth space to clubs. Other organizations helped with parking and sold chili samples to earn money, she said.

The chamber also sponsored a pizza booth, in which members of local service clubs helped sell the food to earn money for their organizations, Hopkins said.

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