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Council blocks Street Fair expansion

Published: Feb. 19, 2013 Updated: Feb. 20, 2013 8:21 a.m.
By FERMIN LEAL
 / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

ORANGE – A plan to expand this year’s Orange International Street Fair by one block failed to win support from the City Council.

Organizers of the fair, now in its 41st year, had proposed transforming the 100 block of South Olive Street into an ethnic street, with five Greek booths and a music stage. The plan would not add vendors or stages. It would just shift them into Olive Street from other locations.

Organizers met with the City Council last week to pitch the plan they said would relieve overcrowding and improve pedestrian traffic flow.

Adam Feliz, vice president of the nonprofit group that operates the fair, said that expected changes to fire codes in 2014 could limit the amount of people allowed within the fair. That prompted organizers to look at alternatives to expand the fair’s footprint.

Currently, 150 feet of Olive Street is used to hold Greek Street staging, dumpsters and restrooms. The block has mostly parking lots, a few businesses, but no residences.

City staff said the expansion would put the fair too close to residents on Almond Avenue and the 200 block of South Olive Street, and make it more difficult for police to patrol the area.

“The closer the fair is to our residents, the more impact it will have in our community,” said Irma Hernandez, deputy city manager. “This will result in more complaints and calls to the Police Department.”

Mayor Tita Smith and the other council members said the city might re-examine the issue next year, when the current fair contract expires and new fire codes might go into effect.

The fair draws 500,000 patrons each year over Labor Day weekend.

Contact the writer: 714-704-3773 orfleal@ocregister.com

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