BUSINESS WATCH:Bringing fun back to Balboa

Tina Hoffman runs a special events and promotions company in the Balboa Fun Zone, so when she heard some people saying lately the Fun Zone has gotten dull, she did what comes naturally.

Hoffman — who owns Menagerie Entertainment, a special events and entertainment production and promotion company — said she wants everyone to know there’s still plenty of, well, fun to be had in the Fun Zone despite some of the rides being taken out and replaced by the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum.

Hoffman has organized a monthly event to generate some community and business spirit to the “village” during the slower months of the year. For the first Fridays of each month, she’s asking merchants to make donations for raffles.

“I want to start a new family tradition and I thought, ‘Let’s start a Fun Zone Friday event,’” she said in her small studio office filled with colorful gifts and other playful objects she uses to fuel her passion for creativity.


Surfside Silver manager Dan Urso said the shop donated some hemp wish bracelets to the cause in the hopes it’ll garner more traffic to the area.

“We could always use more people down here, especially when the weather is cool,” Urso said.

Urso hopes this will catch the attention of potential customers because the only event that has really become successful in Balboa is the “Concerts in the Park” event during the summer, he said.

“Hopefully we’ll be able to get something else successful that’s not just directed toward summertime,” Urso said.


Balboa historian and business owner Jim Fournier donated one of his matted photos from his Balboa Gallery to the cause.

“The idea that she has there, given the proper promotion and such, could be a tremendous help for the Balboa area,” Fournier said.

Jane Young of Local Color in Balboa also donated for the cause and hopes the monthly event will grow and succeed.

“I think it’s going to be a great project for the Fun Zone,” she said in a message to the Daily Pilot.

Hoffman hopes the event also fosters even more networking between the businesses in Balboa so they can refer customers to each other.

“We have to support each other and other businesses,” Hoffman said. “But the real purpose is community networking, and what better way than to do creative things.”

The raffle tickets, which are $1, are available at Hoffman’s bay front office across from Balboa Beach Treats.

Proceeds from the raffles will be used to finance events in Balboa that help at-risk kids participate in community enrichment projects.


For more information, contact Hoffman at (949) ART-TINA or To see a list of participating businesses check out

  • AMANDA PENNINGTON may be reached at (714) 966-4625 or at

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