Community Commentary: O.C. Fair anticipates a 'year of change'

Is 2012 a year of change?

With the year only 17 days old, I have either been part of or listened to conversations about 2012 being the year of change. Is there some sort of external reality to this perspective, or is it a top-of-mind topic of those ready to instigate and embrace change?

Either way, it seems "change is in the air."

In 2012, the Orange County Fair, for all its past, tradition and history, will be no stranger to change. Be it 2002, 2012 or 2022, the success of the O.C. Fair will always rest on its ability to change with the times and with our community and its evolving interests.

In its now 122-year history in 2012, the O.C. Fair is better described as a relay race rather than a marathon. It is not a long-distance run, but a series of shorter, communal bursts of baton carrying and passing ... it is what makes the O.C. Fair so special, its generational nature.

My grandmother started working at the fair in 1952 and invited me to work the summer of 1975, at age 12, and in a sense, passed on the fair tradition to me within our family. She retired in 1982, and I took over the mantle of our family's fair representative, which means between she and I, our family has been involved in the fair for 60 years in 2012. A nice (relay) run.

I have encountered countless people whose family has been involved for generations as well. Employees, exhibitors and fairgoers as mothers, fathers, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren alike have handed down the tradition of their participation and/or patronage of the fair. So many stories exist in our community of fair involvement through the years.

So the new year is here. What new stories will be created in 2012? What new traditions, new experiences and new introductions will the O.C. Fair serve as the backdrop for? That is the single most exciting aspect of the O.C. Fair, its capacity, accommodation and even encouragement for evolutionary change in service of the new.

Is 2012 the year of change for the O.C. Fair? Absolutely, and every year after that as well, if the O.C. Fair stays true to form. And true to form is change as the only true constant in life.

While '11 was heaven true, in '12 we delve anew.

STEVEN BEAZLEY is president and chief executive of the Orange County Fairgrounds.

Editor's note: The above article originally appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of @The Fair, OCFEC's quarterly e-newsletter.

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