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The Valley

Valley Fair to Return to Hansen Dam Site

October 03, 2003|Karima A. Haynes | Times Staff Writer

After a year of disappointing attendance in Castaic Lake, the San Fernando Valley Fair will return in 2004 to the Hansen Dam Recreation Center, organizers said Thursday.

The fair was relocated last June to Castaic Lake in the Santa Clarita Valley mainly because renovations at Hansen Dam had left inadequate parking, organizers said.

But after attendance fell by about 1,000 patrons to 10,000 during the fair's four-day run in June, planners decided to return the event to northeast San Fernando Valley.

The 58th edition of the fair, to be held June 3-6, is expected to draw 10,000 spectators to its mix of carnival rides, live animals, stage shows and novelty foods, organizers said.

"This is the earliest that people have known the date and the location of the fair," said Robert Arias, a fair board member.

Although Lake View Terrace residents support the use of the nearby Hansen Dam Sports Center for the four-day event next year, they said any move to have a permanent location with year-round events would face stiff opposition from neighbors.

"The community could not take the impact of traffic, congestion and spectators every weekend before and after the fair," said Nancy Snider, president of the Lake View Terrace Homeowners Assn.

An attempt to establish permanent fairgrounds three years ago at an existing equestrian center at the western end of Hansen Dam was rejected by residents. They complained that proposed weekend swap meets, boat shows, concerts and a circus would diminish the quality of life in the mostly rural area.

"They had the annual fair there once," Snider said. "There was noise from the generators. We couldn't park in our driveways. Our lives were put on hold for four days. The community cannot take ... people coming and going every weekend."

Snider said that association members have not discussed sites for permanent fairgrounds, but added that a year-round location should not inconvenience any homeowners.

Organizers are considering several locations as a permanent home, Arias said. "Everyone recognizes that it is in the best interest of the fair to have a permanent site so that the event can flourish."

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