Pump that beat

COSTA MESA — Although the Orange County Fairgrounds' future seems uncertain, one thing is for sure: "The Beat Goes On."

That's the theme of this year's Orange County Fair, which runs July 16 to Aug. 15. And the message is meant to reassure fairgoers that no matter what happens, the annual event will continue.

"This is the theme of reassurance, and I think it's what people need right now for a number of reasons," said Steve Beazley, fairgrounds chief executive. "Not just the uncertainty of the fair, but the uncertainty of the economy, the uncertainty of society. These are greatly changing times right now."

Beazley came up with the theme at about 2:30 a.m., when he was up late doing a lot of thinking.

The theme serves a dual purpose, Beazley said.

Driving around town, the theme's sign, with its two heart-shaped speakers, is difficult to miss.

The speakers let you know that music is an integral part of the fair, and the hearts let you know that the fair's "heartbeat," which has been pumping for 120 years, is strong as ever, he said.

The 150-acre fairgrounds are in the process of being sold to Costa Mesa. The state put it up for sale to help plug a hole in the state budget deficit.

The fair, Beazley said, will provide reassurance for people "through embracing traditions."

"Right now, the fair should be reassuring for people to come have a good time and participate in the community," he said. "Just no matter what happens, the beat goes on."

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