Kevin Cody

Manhattan Beach cancels Hometown Fair, loses AVP volleyball tourney

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Social Distancing at the Hometown Fair beer garden would have been a challenge. Archive photo courtesy of Hometown Fair

 

by Mark McDermott 

The Hometown Fair, one of Manhattan Beach’s most beloved community events, will not take place this year due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Organizers this week announced the cancellation of the 48th Annual Hometown Fair out of an abundance of caution for the community’s health. 

“We assure you, no one is more disappointed than us,” said Joe Marcy, president of the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair Association. “The Hometown Fair has always been a safe place to gather, perform and fundraise for 48 years. This decision was not taken lightly. Our priority has to be the health and safety of our community.” 

Marcy noted that the fair typically attracts more than 80,000 people, which places the event at Stage 4 of Governor Gavin Newsom’s reopening plan —  the final phase of reopening that includes live sporting events with audiences, concerts, and conventions. With COVID-19 numbers in California rising and Newsom warning that restrictions that had been lifted may have to be restored, Marcy said it became clear the fair would not be possible this year. 

“An event of this scale doesn’t happen overnight,” he said. “It’s therefore important that we make this decision at this time.” 

Those who submitted booth applications will receive refunds in the coming weeks. And the Fair Association, in an attempt to keep the philanthropic spirit of the event alive, announced that $10,000 in grants would be issued to some of the charities that depend on the fair for annual fundraising.

“For those that rely on our fair to raise money, we want to help,” Marcy said. 

Mayor Richard Montgomery said the city had put aside $45,000 in fee waivers in hopes that the fair could take place this year. The fair announcement comes on the heels of the cancellation of the MB Open volleyball tournament, another cherished local tradition. 

“Based on what’s happening, all of us are readjusting, not just the MB Open, but the AVP, which I wish they would have asked us to host instead of Long Beach. That’s just me,” Montgomery said. “But I think the pandemic is affecting our traditions here, the Hometown Fair for one, and the MB Open. We’re hoping that by the time the Pumpkin Race gets here, and the Pier-to-Pier walk, and finally our fireworks in December, that the governor will allow groups to congregate. We put money aside in the budget to keep all those things going.”

Montgomery acknowledged that everything could ultimately be canceled, but said that the city would be ready to help revive all the city traditions impacted by the pandemic. 

“We the city are standing by all of our group and community events. We want them all to come back when it’s safe to do so,” Montgomery said. “We are really going to celebrate all the things that we all missed….This just shows you the pandemic has cut us all to the core of who we are, and what our city is, when they canceled the Hometown Fair.”

Hometown Fair grant applications will be available on mbfair.org starting August 1 and will be awarded fair weekend: October 3-4, 2020. See mbfair.org for information, as well as to support the fair’s online auction/raffle and merchandise store. ER 

 

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