OC Fair

Let's Crowdsource: Tell Us How You Want to Use the OC Fairgrounds

Bullhorn Meeting

Your input for the OC Fairgrounds (aka Orange County Fair and Event Center or OCFEC) Master Site Plan is needed because the Master Site Plan process will start after the 2018 OC Fair closes in August and finish by the end of December 2018.  Two prior Master Site Plan proposals included converting OCFEC into a convention center (September 2017) and demolition of the Equestrian Center to create an RV park (April 2018).  The April 2018 proposal included $170 million in bonds for a series of projects with the nearly half a billion dollars in  debt payments on the bonds forcing OCFEC either into bankruptcy or to more than quadruple revenues to simply make the debt payments.  Only one meeting was allowed for Public input during these two proposals even though the Public owns the property.  

There has been a lack of participation by the Public and FANS of the OC Fairgrounds is providing a channel for Public input. 

 

Let's Crowdsource: Tell Us How You Want to Use the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC)

Friends and Neighbors of the OC Fairgrounds (FANS of the OC Fairgrounds) is crowdsourcing how the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC) can be used in the future to better serve the needs of the Public who own the property.  We want to know your vision of how the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC) should be used in 5 years (2023), 10 years (2028) and 15 years (2033). Here are some questions to get your ideas going:

  • What works well and what needs to be improved?  
  • Are there activities which should be expanded or shrunk?
  • Are new activities needed and what are those activities?
  • How can the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC) better serve the community?
  • The property is supposed to serve the needs of all of Orange County. What are those needs and how can those needs be addressed? 

Ideas which are submitted will be posted and the Public allowed to review and comment on the ideas. During the Master Site Plan process during late 2018, these ideas will be brought forward to show how the Public wants to use the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC.)  Any member of the Public can submit ideas.  We ask that submissions be no longer than 6 US letter sized pages with all pages in PDF format. 

How to Submit Your Ideas

Email your submission as a PDF attachment to  fansocfairgrounds@gmail.com with the Subject Heading: Crowd Source Submission

Each Submission Needs a Cover Page

  1. Your name.
  2. The ZIP code in which you reside. (Anyone, who lives anywhere, can make a submission and it will be considered, this information is to allow us to determine the geographic effect of our outreach.)
  3. A contact phone number or email address at which you may be contacted if there are any questions about your submission.
  4. The following language: I am submitting the following proposal for use of the Orange County Fairgrounds and I agree that the 32nd District Agricultural Association of the State of California can use anything in this submission for the Orange County Fair and/or Fairgrounds.

Your cover page may include:
Any other statement or background information regarding your relationship to the Fairgrounds, the Fair, or your submission, that you wish to include. As discussed below, this statement will NOT be included in the portion of the submission that is made available for review to the public.

Submission Recommendations
Although there are no formal format or content requirements for your submission, we request that you:

  • Focus on USES, i.e., how you want to see the fairgrounds used, both for the annual Fair use (if any) and year-round use (if any)
  • Discussion of facilities, demolitions, modifications, upgrades, or additions should be tied to USES

Although not required, the following suggestions, may assist you in preparing your submission:

  • Include specific discussion of USES of current major Fairgrounds Facilities, the PacAmp, Centennial Farms, the Equestrian Center, Heroes Hall, the Action Sports Arena/Speedway, and the Ag-Barn facilities
  • If the envisioned uses will significantly increase the number of visitors to the Fairgrounds, you may wish to address, at least generally, impacts on and possible ways to address traffic, parking, and noise issues
  •  If you think it is helpful in understanding your submission, address, at least generally, operating costs for, or revenues from, the identified uses.

What Will Happen to My Submission
Approximately one week after it is submitted, your cover page will be removed from your submission and your submission will be assigned an ID number. All submissions, except those which would subject the Friends and Neighbors of the Orange County Fairgrounds to potential legal action, will then be made available to the public for review and comment.

Submissions will be available to review at Crowdsourcing the OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan.
Comments regarding submissions (referencing the ID number) may be posted in the comments section of this post.


April 2018 OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan Concept and Proposed Phasing Released

The OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center aka OCFEC) has released the draft of the process for the Master Site Plan and draft proposal with phasing of costs. Problematic elements featured in the prior Master Site Plan proposal such as demolition of the recently constructed Main Mall and construction of massive convention center buildings have been removed from the proposal. The proposed phasing of the construction is:

Phase I - Expand Administration Building at a cost of $22.9 million.
Phase II - Replace livestock barn, upgrade Action Sports Arena & equestrian facilities relocation and upgrade at a cost of $21.8 million.
Phase III - Repurpose current equestrian center space at a cost of $16.1 million.
Phase IV - Build new education center and upgrade Centennial Farm at a cost of $27.4 million.
Phase V - Install perimeter fence at a cost of $9.4 million. 
Phase VI- Relocate Main Entrance to align with Main Mall at a cost of $50.8 million. 
Phase VII - Build parking garage and bridge to OCC at corner of Fairview Road and Arlington Drive. 
 
A draft proposal is posted to be considered at the April 2018 Board meeting and is available for download here.  Download CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April-2018-FINAL-DRAFT_040218
 
The constraints placed on the proposal included:
  •  No negative impact on the annual fair

  • Engage the OC Marketplace ownership on proposed changes

  • Review parking and engage Orange Coast College in parking opportunities

  • Insure education facility needs are reviewed

  • Re-visit community opportunities

  • Review Equestrian Center and Equine opportunities

The Master Site Plan Process Milestones to date are:

  1. Early to mid-2016 developed a Request for Proposal (RFP) to find a Master Site Planning (MSP) consultant

  2. Awarded a consulting contract to Johnson Consulting November 2016

  3. First quarter of 2017 information gathering

  4. January 2017 OCFEC Board of Directors stakeholder meeting

  5. March 2017 OCFEC staff stakeholder meeting

  6. April 2017 on grounds partners stakeholder meeting

  7. May 2017 facility users stakeholder meeting

  8. June 2017 Community partners stakeholder meeting

  9. June 2017 Town Hall public meeting

  10. September Board of Directors workshop

  11. Late 2017 early 2018 Develop CEQA consultant RFP

The next steps are:

  1. April 2018 Board of Directors workshop – work towards finalizing draft MSP concept

  2. Date, TBD, (Evening, May 2018) hold public meeting to present the draft MSP concept

  3. April 2018 award CEQA consultant contract

  4. Over the next several months work through the CEQA process


Are There a Lot of County Fairs in California?

 

Funnel Cake Question (2)
Yes. Fairs are held from Crescent City on the Oregon border to Imperial County near the border with Mexico. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) which manages State owned and operated fairgrounds and coordinates with other fairgrounds in the State, there are:

54 District Agricultural Associations (DAA's) owned and operated by the State.

2 DAA's were deactivated during fiscal year 1997/98, leaving 52 active DAA's.

23 County Fairs owned and operated by County government or not-for-profit organizations.

2 Citrus Fruit Fairs operated by not-for-profit organizations. A Citrus Fruit Fair is a specific type of fair focussed on citrus fruit.

The California Exposition and State Fair (Cal Expo) in Sacramento is a State agency.

 

A map of California fairs is available. 

 


Over 111 Day Wait for Answers About OC Fair Board Expenses & Still No Answers

2017 OC Fair Aerial View Cropped

The 2018 budget for the OC Fairgrounds was discussed and approved in November 2017.  Budget questions were emailed to CEO Kathy Kramer a few days before the meeting and were not answered. The same questions were asked during the November 2017 Board meeting when the 2018 budget was discussed and were not answered.  Attempts to follow up to receive answers to questions about expenditure of public money have been met with obstructionism.  OC Fair Board Directors are supposed to be serving without compensation and it is unclear why these expenses are needed.

During 2016 and 2017, OC Fair Board Directors received free nightly catered gourmet dinners for themselves and their families; free concert and admission tickets for themselves and their families including tickets to more than one event per day; use of a private bathroom costing over $14,000 for the 23 day run of the OC Fair; and use of a public employee tasked with being the Board Concierge to coordinate tickets, dinners, and guest lists for Directors. The OC Fairgrounds can't answer public records requests but has enough staff to give the Board a Concierge to manage their busy days of free dinners and free tickets. Executive Management, including those who are responsible for overseeing public records requests, are also recipients of the free nightly catered gourmet dinners and concert tickets. 

CEO Kathy Kramer appears to have the support of  the Directors (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) in keeping this information under wraps as no Director answered the question at the November 2017 Board meeting and no Director has compelled release of the information after being made aware of stonewalling on the part of staff.

What Was Asked & Not Answered

Note: The account numbers refer to line items in the 2018 budget.

Regarding account 5150 Directors Expense budgeted at $11,597, what are the activities, personnel, and other items paid for with this money?

Regarding account 5155 Directors Meeting Expense budgeted at $12,300, what are the activities, personnel, and other items paid for with this money?

What is the budgeted amount in 2018 for the nightly catered Board/Business Development dinners held during the OC Fair? What is the budgeted amount in 2018 for Board Concierge services? What is the cost in 2018 of the complimentary parking and OC Fair tickets given to the dinner guests?

Will private bathroom facilities in the Board/Business Development dinner area be provided in 2018? What is the justification for these facilities given that the dinner attendees walk past a bathroom on their way into the event?

Has there been consideration of replacing the area used for the nightly Board/Business Development dinners with a revenue generating activity such as space rentals to concessionaires and vendors or creating a restaurant open to the Public? The restaurant would allow OC Fair patrons to dine on the same food as the 32nd DAA Board members while generating revenue for the 32nd DAA.

What are the costs including face value of tickets and staff time to fill orders associated with Directors and their families receiving complimentary tickets to the events held in the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar, and Action Sports Arena in 2018?

Will Directors be able to receive tickets to more than one event in the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar, and Action Sports Arena per day in 2018? What is the face value of the tickets received from attending more than one event per day in the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena?

Will the Executive Management Team be gifting themselves complimentary tickets to the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar, and Action Sports Arena in 2018? What is the face value of the tickets gifted to the Executive Management Team?

Has there been consideration of relocating Directors from the premium pit seats to less expensive seats and placing all of the pit seats on sale to increase revenue for the 32nd DAA? This move would generate revenue for the 32nd DAA while reigning in costs.

Contacting the OC Fairgrounds

Public records requests can be submitted to cpra@ocfair.com

CEO Kathy Kramer can be reached at kkramer@ocfair.com

Board Director Email Addresses Added May 3, 2018

Chair Barbara Bagneris bbagneris@ocfairboard.com
Vice Chair Robert Ruiz rruiz@ocfairboard.com
Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com
Nick Berardino nberardino@ocfairboard.com
Sandra Cervantes scervantes@ocfairboard.com
Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com
Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com
Newton Pham npham@ocfairboard.com
Stan Tkaczyk stkaczyk@ocfairboard.com

 

 

 

 


What Happened After the Carnival Ride Accidents Last Summer?

Carnival Question (2)

The rides are in the process of being fixed if the rides have not already been fixed. In summer of 2017, a Fireball ride manufactured by KMG broke apart and killed one person. The G Force ride at the OC Fair was closed after the accident as a precaution.  An inspection of the damaged ride revealed problems with corrosion. Fixing the problems include replacing the gondolas and new inspection routines. G Force was closed for several days and reopened after repairs were made.

In California, amusement rides, including carnival rides, are overseen by the Amusement Ride and Tramway Unit of the Department of Industrial Relations.  Reporting requirements include submitting a schedule of locations the at which the ride will be used,  submitting information about  new rides or alterations to existing rides, and reporting injuries, accidents, or major mechanical failures. The district office for Southern California is at 2000 E McFadden Ave, Suite 210, Santa Ana, CA 92705. (714) 567-7211

An industry group, Council of  Amusement and Recreational Safety Equipment (CARES) works to disseminate information on service bulletins from ride manufacturers and consults on ride safety regulations.  Some of the information available from CARES includes technical bulletins,  how the nationwide ride tracking system is implemented, and a list of rides with specifications for non-destructive testing (NDT).


Is the OC Fairgrounds Owned by the State of California? Are They Part of State Government?

Cow Question (2)

Yes and yes. The OC Fairgrounds is owned by the State of California and is formally known as the 32nd District Agricultural Association or 32nd DAA.  

District Agricultural Associations were established to assist in marketing California agricultural products by showcasing livestock, fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries, seeds, hay, straw, other agricultural commodities, and products made from agricultural commodities.  The reason the OC Fair actually exists is to show off local livestock and agricultural products. The Junior Livestock Auction is part of that core reason for being of the OC Fair as are the wine, food, flower, and produce competitions

District Agricultural Associations are part of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in the Executive Branch of government and report to the Governor. Fairs fall under the Marketing Services branch which also manages dairy product production, marketing and pricing; assists in marketing agricultural commodities; and collects agricultural market information and statistics to assist California farmers in growing and selling their commodities. Fairs and Expositions is under Marketing Services and assists State owned and operated fairgrounds in management.


CEO Kathy Kramer to Make Appearance at March 6, 2018 Costa Mesa City Council Meeting

Check It Out (1)

 

CEO Kathy Kramer will make an appearance at the March 6, 2018, Costa Mesa City Council meeting which starts at 6 PM at 77 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa to make a presentation at the beginning of the meeting agendized as "2. Upcoming OC Fair Events & Information – Ms. Kathy Kramer, CEO, OC Fair".  As this is an information item and does not have a staff report detailing what is being presented, CEO Kathy Kramer should stick to providing information about upcoming concerts, events, classes, and similar items and refrain from discussion of any and all issues regarding the Master Site Plan, Board of Directors decisions, upcoming items on the Board of Directors agenda, or any matter which is not strictly informational. Council Members should also refrain from discussing issues which do not appear on the agenda with CEO Kramer at this time. 

If CEO Kathy Kramer wants to discuss those items with the Costa Mesa City Council, she needs to come back and ask for the item(s) to be placed on the agenda with a staff report prepared and with both the Council and public allowed to ask questions and make comments regarding the agenda item.  Similarly, if the Council wants a discussion of issues involving the OC Fairgrounds,  Council should place the item on the agenda with a staff report prepared and with both the Council and public allowed to ask questions and make comments regarding the agenda item.

 

Background on CEO Kathy Kramer

Kathy Kramer has worked as:

Director of Sales and Marketing for Harrah's Casino and Hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Midwest Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Six Continents Hotels and Resorts in Omaha, Nebraska

Vice President of Convention Sales and Marketing for Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska

Deputy Director of Phoenix Convention Center and Venues: Ms. Kramer was part of the executive team that oversaw a $600M expansion project tripling the rentable space to nearly one million sq. ft and placing the convention center in the top 25 convention centers in North America. The expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center permanently changed the area around the property and led to the development of hotels and restaurants near the property. 

Vice President of Business Operations at Northlands in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Record Breaking 2017 Revenues & Cash Reserves at OC Fairgrounds

32nd DAA Historic Revenue Chart

As the books on 2017 are closed, the financial achievements of the OC Fairgrounds (also known as the 32nd District Agricultural Association or 32nd DAA)  in Costa Mesa, CA, become clear with record breaking revenues of $46,218,579, up by over $2 million from 2016 revenues of $44,085,055. Operating expenses increased from $32,913,281 in 2016 to $36,284,118, but the operation was still highly profitable. An all time high in cash and cash equivalent reserves came in at $43,577,495. A summary follows and detailed financial statements are available for download. 

Download Financials_HistoricalFebruary_Board_Packet

All figures are end of period. 

  2017 2016
Cash & Cash Equivalent $43,577,495 $38,206,988
     
Total OC Fairgrounds Produced Event Revenue     $35,075,050   $34,203,177
Total Year Rental Revenue     $10,592,999 $9,567,324
Total Non-Operating Revenue     $550,531 $314,554
Total Revenue     $46,218,579 $44,085,055
     
Total Operating Expenses      $36,284,118  $32,913,281
Profits   $9,934,461 $11,171,774