One thing that sometimes gets lost in the battle for control of the Orange County Fairgrounds is the fair itself. As the city of Costa Mesa works with the state to acquire the fairgrounds with the help of a private company, it's easy to forget about the summertime ritual that takes us back to a simpler time when the fairgrounds meant rides, deep-fried food on a stick, retro music acts and smiling children, not bickering with Sacramento over Costa Mesa's stance as a "Rule of Law" city or complex land negotiations.
That is why we applaud the fair operators for this year's theme, "The Beat Goes On," a fine choice that reminds us what the fair is about. The phrase is an important reminder that the fair itself is what makes the 150-acre property in the heart of Costa Mesa something worth fighting to preserve. It reminds us that no matter how much political jockeying occurs, there will still be 30 or so days of joy and memories in the making this — and we assume — every summer to come.
"This is the theme of reassurance, and I think it's what people need right now for a number of reasons," Steve Beazley, fairgrounds chief executive, told the Daily Pilot last week. "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's assessment is apt. Costa Mesa residents need reassurance after all the tumult that came with this year's negotiations.The fair is one of those few remaining constants in an always-changing county. This year's theme carries with it not only symbolism but, at least we hope, a commitment to the community — no matter who controls the property in the years to come.