News: 1999-06.10-Vacaville

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T: Pleasure Faire plans detailed for chamber" 
A: Mike Adamick/Staff Writer 
D: 6/10/1999
C: Unknown Source

The Renaissance Pleasure Faire, which stirred great debate a year ago, is crying once more unto the breach in Vacaville.

Instead of holding the Elizabethan-era theme park in Lagoon Valley as proposed last year, fair organizers have developed a plan to use the vacant Nut Tree site for eight weekends starting Aug. 28.

Fair Vice President Howard Hamburg asked the Vacaville Chamber of Commerce for support at a meeting Tuesday in the City Council Chamber, saying it would inject thousands of dollars into the local economy. He also unveiled plans for what activities would be held at the Nut Tree if the plan is approved.

The chamber executive board will vote today on whether or not it will lend support to the fair, said Gary Tatum, chamber president. The Planning Commission will consider granting a temporary use permit, essentially giving the fair the green light, at its meeting next week. The City Council will not hear the proposal unless someone files an appeal.

At the meeting Tuesday, Hamburg gave a glimpse into what the fair will offer if held at the Nut Tree and what impact the fair will have on the city.

The fair will retain several key attractions like the jousting area, the falconry and crafts exhibits, and a Kids Kingdom, as well as shops, costumed performers, hand-powered rides and theatrical performances.

Hamburg estimates $5 million in taxable sales from the eight-weekend-long fair. That could generate $50,000 for city coffers. Also, Hamburg noted that city businesses will reap the benefits of 10,500 visitors coming to Vacaville each day during those eight weekends. Hamburg plans to hire about 400 local people for the weekends.

Aside from its own security force of 50 people, Hamburg said the fair would pay the city back for any use of its police officers for routine security.

The Nut Tree building would house about 30 offices for security, catering and entertainment. Some other buildings at the site will be off-limits to the general public.

The fair raised the ire of religious and civic activists last year when it was proposed to be held on public land at Lagoon Valley. Business owners in that area said traffic would crimp their livelihoods, while religious activists said the fair was immoral because, according to one woman at a council meeting, some actors show ample cleavage.

In the end, because landowners would not lend space for parking, traffic dilemmas prevented the fair from being held at Lagoon Valley. The fair stayed at its Novato home for just one more year.

The fair sold that land, and a housing development will take its place.

A new home in Antioch is being built for the fair. Until then, organizers want to hold the event at the Nut Tree, a private site often proffered last year as an alternative to Lagoon Valley.

About 1,000 actors will participate - about 200 professionals and 800 amateurs from various acting guilds.

There will be an opportunity for some to join an acting guild if they cannot afford the admission price, said Hamburg. The price ranges from $7 to $15 each day, and the fair is looking for help from local businesses to sell tickets at various local stores.

When the fair ends its run Oct. 16, actors would switch gears and ready a special haunted house in the Nut Tree building. Hamburg said $25,000 from haunted house proceeds will be given to a children's charity of the city's choice.