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Orange Street Fair Beats the Heat as 500,000 Turn Out for Food, Fun

September 06, 2004|Jennifer Mena | Times Staff Writer

Even as the temperature soared past 100 before 11 a.m., vendors and customers kept cooking and eating at the Orange International Street Fair. Nearly 500,000 people attended the annual three-day event that ended Sunday, police estimated.

"It's shoulder-to-shoulder people here, and they are all eating," said Sgt. Jeff Burton.

"I wish I could tell you that the heat could stop me, but it can't," said Michelle Munoz, a 32-year-old mother of two who had enjoyed kielbasa and a steak sandwich.

Mike Winger, president of the street fair, said this year's crowd was the largest ever. Some booths ran out of food by 8 p.m. Friday because they had bought supplies based on last year's attendance, he said.

And the temperatures didn't appear to discourage appetites.

"It if hits 100, people still come," Winger said.

Nicolle Millar, 37, a mother of three, went to the fair from church to enjoy snow cones, kettle corn and quesadillas.

"I don't remember it being this hot this early. We'll eat before we go home and swim," Millar said.

Two people, both vendors, were treated by paramedics for heat-related problems Saturday, Winger said.

Vendors sold food to benefit local nonprofit organizations, such as the Cub Scouts, Kiwanis Club and churches. In previous years, the fair itself has donated its profits from booth rentals to nonprofit groups. But because insurance costs rose from $28,000 to $57,000 this year, it hadn't been decided if that would be possible, Winger said.

Ted Laurvik was part of a team that expected to cook nearly 5,000 funnel cakes during the fair. Their secret for beating the heat? "We just keep drinking water and lemonade. Lots of it. I'd like to say it was rum and Coke, but no such luck," he said.

Others came up with their own strategies. Lonnie Sanez, a furniture and birdhouse vendor, painted a T-shirt with his daughter under a canopy to avoid the sun for a spell.

Jessica Guterson shopped for a snack with a fan and water bottle.

Todd and Amanda Moreau found refuge on two chairs near an air-conditioned, opened area of Wells Fargo Bank.

"You need the fair for it to be Labor Day weekend, but you also need shade and cool," said Todd Moreau. "Here, everyone finds both somehow."

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