The Sunset Junction Street Fair last weekend was a peaceful and happy three-day affair of food, music and amusement rides, fair organizers and police officials agree. They disagree, however, on how many people attended.
Los Angeles Police Lt. Louis Gray, who supervised law-enforcement personnel at the Silver Lake festival, said there was no violence and only a handful of arrests were made for violations such as smoking marijuana.
"Things went really very smoothly for an event of that size. It was a well-behaved crowd," Gray said. He praised the fair's sponsors for what he said was good organization.
Crowd Estimated at 200,000
About 200,000 people attended the fair on Sunset Boulevard during its three days, according to John Brown, co-chairman of Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance, the group that founded the fair in 1980 to promote understanding between homosexuals and other area residents.
Brown said the turnout, although smaller than the 300,000 he predicted, showed that people were not scared off by reports of anti-homosexual violence in Silver Lake.
"We were really happy to see that," he said.
Gray said he thought attendance was much less than 200,000, but said he could not make an accurate estimate.
Brown said that, although bookkeeping is not complete, the fair will break even financially and probably came up with some profits to be distributed among the area social-service agencies that are its co-sponsors.
The fair was an annual event from 1980 through 1985, but was canceled last year because of a steep increase in liability-insurance premiums.
The insurance problem was solved this year, and the festival was revived. It was moved to Memorial Day weekend from its traditional August time slot and extended from two to three days.
Brown said his group would like to start planning for next year's fair but wants to get more financial support from the City of Los Angeles, which gave $3,000 to the fair and provided police services.
"It's time to say that, if this is valuable to the city, then the city needs to do more to support it," Brown said.