Community Commentary: We want quality company at fair center

The bedrock of the O.C. Fair & Event Center (OCFEC) has been those partners who assist the fair organization to deliver on its promise to serve our community's interests.

After 120 years, one undeniable truth exists: It does take a village to serve the villagers.

Relationships with public partners like the city of Costa Mesa and the county have long been fruitful in fulfilling our collective duty to provide public good.

Decades of efforts with the city and county have made for a good, three-legged stool. Going forward, we aim to make the stool into a strong, shaker-like chair by adding the fourth leg: a deeper relationship with our legislative representatives who are a profound voice locally and in Sacramento for what is good about our county.

Relationships with nonprofits have paved OCFEC's history of providing numerous linkage opportunities for those who have heard the call to serve and those they serve.

Several of our year-round events are nonprofit-based or have a profound nonprofit affiliation. Among those, the OC Marathon, a worthy nonprofit venture promoting health and fitness for adults and kids, calls OCFEC its home.

This year, the path widens to include OCFEC's Hangar Building serving as the host venue for the first KOCE gala as the newly illuminated PBS SoCal.

I am certain 2011 will go down in KOCE/PBS SoCal's history as paving the way to a new tomorrow. The road to tomorrow travels right through OCFEC.

Relationships with private sector partners have brought innovation and creative thinking to the table and have provided a springboard for new ways of using the asset of the fairgrounds to the public's enjoyment.

Government provides the heart, but the private sector often times provides the brains and know-how specialty in creating OCFEC's recreational and entertainment opportunities.

Newer and deepening relationships like those forged with the infectiously impassioned Roy Englebrecht, producer of the Fight Club OC, and the California cool swagger of Craig Jackson (though an Arizonian) and his Barrett-Jackson phenomenon, make OCFEC a hipper place to hang out.

Add to that the soon-to-be-named partner being sought to help polish the jewel in the crown, the Pacific Amphitheatre, to shine all across Orange County and Southern California, and we have quite a star-studded cast of characters with plenty of room for additional characters to cast in the future.

Finally and most importantly, the company you keep is always a quality proposition of those you invite. OCFEC's invitation to the community to make this place a frequent destination, a "third place," after home and work, is perhaps the most important relationship to be deepened and widened.

If our community feels a sense of safety, comfort and belonging, OCFEC will be akin to their "rec" room at home or their break room at work, a choice place to gather and unwind. Relationships are the royal road to relevancy and longevity. Let's keep each other company as we head down that path.

STEVE BEAZLEY is president and chief executive of the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.

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