2014 fair dates announced, JPA plans on hold, pot at concerts to be addressed

DEL MAR — The 2014 San Diego County Fair will be held June 7 through July 6, once again running 24 days, the 22nd District Agricultural Association board of directors announced Sept. 10. 

The board was scheduled to also reveal next year’s theme, but deferred that announcement until the Oct. 8 meeting. The annual event will be closed every Monday and the first two Tuesdays, allowing it to be open five weekends.

With the horse racing season having just ended Sept. 4, board members said they will evaluate the number of people who used the free Shopper Shuttle to travel between the fairgrounds and Del Mar and Solana Beach during that event and the fair to determine if it will be used again next year.

Director David Watson said he wants an “honest assessment” of the program and wouldn’t feel comfortable spending up to $100,000 on the shuttle for a third year unless ridership increased.

“I don’t want to throw good money after bad,” he said.

In other 22nd DAA news, Board President Adam Day and Watson met with representatives from Gov. Jerry Brown’s office Sept. 4 to discuss a proposed joint powers authority with the county of San Diego to govern the fairgrounds.

Watson said officials in Sacramento “clearly haven’t analyzed all the issues to their satisfaction.” He said all parties involved agreed to postpone any decision on a new governance model for the state-owned facility until January 2014.

“Basically, nothing is going to happen on any potential governance model until after the first of the year,” Watson said.

The board is also planning to hold a discussion in November to address marijuana smoking during post-racing concerts.

Again this month, nearly a dozen speakers, during the public comment portion of the meeting, shared concerns about the illegal activity and apparent lack of enforcement.

Several offered solutions, including Christine Griffiths, who recommended booking entertainment that doesn’t attract marijuana users, re-educating concert-goers about the law and limiting admittance to people 18 and older.

Because the concerns are voiced during the public comment portion and aren’t part of the agenda, directors are prohibited from having a full-blown discussion.

Watson asked that the item be added to an upcoming agenda to determine what steps can or can’t be taken to curtail the behavior.

“It’s frustrating to hear the same complaints over and over again,” he said. “If we can’t do anything about it, we should say we can’t. It’s not serving any purpose to hear these complaints every month and not do anything. … It looks like we’re being nonresponsive.”

Day acknowledged marijuana smoking occurs during the concerts but said it wasn’t prevalent at the ones he attended.

“Personally, I don’t believe it’s accurate to say (the fairgrounds) is some rampant location for marijuana smoking,” he said.

The November meeting is slated for the 12th. Director Lisa Barkett suggested it include a recap from security and the Sheriff’s Department.

The 22nd DAA, which governs the fairgrounds, will sponsor the 2013 California Coastal Cleanup Day from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 21. Volunteers will clean up the San Dieguito River Park trail, Dog Beach in Del Mar and the restoration areas east and west of Interstate 5.

Helpers are encouraged to bring their own gloves and reusable bags or buckets for collecting trash, however, backup supplies will be provided.

There will be a Bling Your Bucket contest for youngsters and pizza for volunteers. Visit cleanupday.org for more information or to register.

The 22nd DAA sponsorship satisfies a requirement in consent orders issued by the California Coastal Commission to sponsor a river park cleanup.

Fair officials also announced the addition of a zombie paintball safari to the 16th annual Scream Zone, which opens Sept. 27 and runs through Nov. 2.

Visit thescreamzone.com for more information.



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