Community Fair: A Gift from the SRCA

The 14th Annual SRCA Community Fair is on Sunday, May 19, from noon to 7:30 pm in the Scripps Ranch Community Park. Here, we take a look at the history of this SRCA tradition.

For some time the SRCA had wanted to have a communitywide event that wouldn’t conflict with other scheduled activities where, according to then-SRCA president Wes Danskin, “…many could attend without feeling cramped. It would have booths in which organizations such as the Old Pros, Women’s Athletic Club (WAC), Scripps Ranch Women’s Club, Scouts, and others could provide information about their groups.”

The wish was granted when the long-awaited park in the northern part of the Ranch opened in April 1999. The Scripps Ranch Community Park encompassed a large grassy area, restrooms, and a playground. In addition, the hills surrounding it made it a natural amphitheater, perfect for concerts and performances.

Wendy Littooy, assisted by Bob Dingeman and an enthusiastic committee, chaired the new venture. It would offer inflatable jumps, a real fire engine and ambulance that children could climb on and go in, clowns, and balloons. Center stage featured the music of The Heroes, led by Scripps Ranch’s own Tom Boyd. Wendy invited the community to spend “a few hours to kick off our shoes and enjoy the spectacular community we live in.”

The SRCA brought in pizza, which was served by girl scouts who also made fresh-squeezed lemonade. Boy scouts volunteered for clean-up duty. Seven hundred people attended the first Community Fair, deemed a success by organizers. They felt more would have attended if they’d known where it was. They would be sure to give directions to future Community Fairs.

Wendy repeated her role as chair the next year, when 27 nonprofit organizations dispensed information from their booths. It was a big bash that also celebrated the 30th birthday of Scripps Ranch with a big decorated cake and, again, music by The Heroes. Karate demonstrations, face painting, and a magic/comedy show expanded the fun provided the previous year. Scripps Ranch had a new institution to be enjoyed in future years!

Bev Cassity, a former member of the Community Fair committee and someone who knew a lot about staging big events—she manages the Scripps Ranch Farmers Market—became the chair when Wendy had to leave because of other commitments. Bev served in that capacity for nine more years as the fair continued to grow and draw huge crowds.

The Bayou Brothers provided their zydeco and oldies music during the fair, and the Old Pros and WAC followed with other entertainment, such as Rockola and The Heroes. Bigger and better each year, the fair began offering giant inflatable jumps and slides, silly hat designing, pony and llama rides, mechanical swings, an obstacle course, climbing walls, rides, and arts and crafts booths.

Food treats included kettle corn, hot dogs, burgers, tamales, cotton candy, snow cones, hot food, and homemade ice cream. Thousands were now attending the annual fair. “Come early, stay late!” encouraged the fair committee, with the reminder to “bring lawn chairs and blankets.”

Bev Cassity, with regrets, left the fair in 2012 in anticipation of a new grandchild in the family. Jan McGinn took over, and she and her eager and creative committee put their stamp on the fun-filled event. New food, new games, new entertainment, and a special feature will keep the crowds coming back. For more details on this year’s event, check out page 11, then join us at the Community Fair!

Elinor Reiss