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Street Faire a credit to a great community

POSTED May 9, 2012 9:23 a.m.
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Thousands of people from Ceres and surrounding communities attended the Ceres Street Faire last weekend.

It was our 24th annual Faire, and as in past years, it was a huge success. It was safe and fun for everyone. The Ceres Street Faire featured diverse offerings, including food and drinks for sale, a wide range of different things to buy, arts and crafts, information booths, live entertainment, a car show, dancing, live music, games and activities for kids, martial arts demonstrations and more.

The Ceres Street Faire was founded in October 1988 by the Ceres Lions Club and Ceres Chamber of Commerce. It is the product of combining the antiques and collectibles show and moving the historic Peach Harvest Festival from Smyrna Park into a Street Faire environment. The main goal was to create a fundraiser for not only the Ceres Lions Club and Ceres Chamber of Commerce, but to also afford fundraising opportunities to other Ceres non-profit organizations.

This Street Faire event is unique for several reasons. The first is that it is not a commercial enterprise; it is entirely planned, orchestrated and managed by individual community volunteers, the Ceres Lions Club and the Ceres Chamber of Commerce. The city of Ceres provides facilities, safety and maintenance personnel, and logistical support, but it is not a city event per se - it is truly a community event by any definition. It could not work without the volunteers.

There are no entrance fees for the public, and there is always plenty of free parking. Medical assistance is onsite and available if needed by Street Faire attendees.

The police and fire personnel take great pride in maintaining a safe environment, and they excel in achieving that goal. Even with the fact that gang members are attracted like magnets to events like this, their potential for disruptive activities is kept to a minimum. This year was particularly safe, as only two people were escorted from the event for causing a disturbance, and another person was arrested on an outstanding warrant. While no children were reported lost this year, lost children were always quickly reunited with their parents in previous years.

Any major community activity or event involves a major planning and preparation effort. With little recognition, a group of dedicated, self-motivated and generous members of the community who, in preparation for the Street Faire, quietly begin meeting six months prior to the actual event, sometimes multiple times monthly. They attend to the countless details required for a successful event of this size. They do this work with such little fanfare that, over the years, they have been taken for granted. If not for them, there would never have been any events of this nature in Ceres.

I am proud to be part of a community that works together so well and has a true community spirit. Like most all communities in the Central Valley, we face many problems like high unemployment, crime and we continually have to fight to keep our communities looking as clean as possible. But Ceres is making progress, and we have shown, time and again, that we can accomplish whatever goal we set for ourselves.

The Ceres Street Faire is testimony to our community spirit, the fact that we have many dedicated and capable community leaders, and that we can overcome any adversity we encounter. The Street Faire says so much more about Ceres than just the fact that we are able to put on a great two-day public event. We are a proud and capable community. Ceres is a great place to live, and I want to thank those who worked so hard to put this program together. I look forward to the 25th annual Ceres Street Faire.
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