Berkeley's Live Oak Park Fair relocates to Richmond
By Sarah Rohrs Correspondent
Posted: 03/10/2015 11:35:38 AM PDT Updated: 4 days ago
BERKELEY -- Sad news for Berkeley, but good news for Richmond.
That's one way of looking at the decision to stop staging the Live Oak Park Fair in Berkeley in favor of a new summer fair at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond.
Jan Etre, the event's chief producer, announced that this year's fair, which dates back 44 years, will no longer take place in the North Berkeley park.
Instead, a new arts, crafts and entertainment fair to benefit radio station KPFA will take place along the south Richmond waterfront in June.
"This serves the greater good," Etre said of the move. Staging the Live Oak Park Fair for many years was a "labor of love and I'm glad I did it," she added.
A woman paints a young girl's face at the Live Oak Park Fair in Berkeley on April 19, 2012. (Jessica Yadegaran/Bay Area News Group)
Now renamed as the KPFA Summer Arts Fair, the new event will be twice as large and take place June 20-21. Last year's Live Oak Park Fair took place in mid-June.
Parking will be free, but there will be a paid admission charged to raise money for Berkeley's community-based, progressive radio station.
Etre said the decision to move the fair from Berkeley to Richmond was a bittersweet but necessary and beneficial move.
The Craneway Pavilion proved its appeal when the holiday KPFA Crafts Fair relocated there from San Francisco last year and was a great success, she said.
Erte has produced the holiday fair for 25 years, and the Live Oak Park Fair for 27.
Representatives in Richmond are pleased the Craneway Pavilion will be the site of both the new summer fair and the holiday crafts fair.
"We're excited to showcase our shoreline and this building," said Richmond Visitor and Convention Bureau's Executive Director Beth Javens.
Craneway Pavilion General Manager Dana Stoehr also said she looks forward to fostering a long relationship with the fairs, which will complement Richmond's vision for its south shore.
The Craneway Pavilion is a 55,000-square-foot portion of a historic 1931 Ford Motor assembly plant. The venue, which has a panoramic view of the Bay, is adjacent to the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park and visitors center.
Etre said her decision to stop staging the Live Oak Park Fair came about after trying to move the event to a different spring or summer date.
She said the longtime fair needed a change as it was up against competition from other events and also had seen an attendance drop from the economic downturn.
Live Oak Park is also the site of the annual Himalayan Fair held annually in mid-May, one of numerous fairs and festivals held in the city throughout the year.
Competition from the first Bay Area Book Festival scheduled for early June in downtown Berkeley was also cited as a determining factor.
Erte also said she wanted to stage the summer fair as a benefit and chose KPFA as a worthy beneficiary. Previously, the fair was staged independently, with proceeds used to cover costs.
Erte, too, is excited about the revamped fair's potential benefits for Richmond.
"Richmond is growing in leaps and bounds and if I can help be part of it, then I'm happy," Erte said.
While Erte looks forward to the new summer fair, she is also grateful for the artists and craftspeople, Berkeley officials and community members who supported the Live Oak Park Fair over the years.
"May we embrace this change and may the new venture at the Craneway be wildly successful," she wrote on the fair's website.
For more information about the KPFA Summer Arts Festival go to http://www.kpfa.org/craftsfair/summer/. Erte can also be reached at email@example.com.
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