I wanted to echo your comments regarding the "free" BBQ event at the county fairgrounds a couple weeks ago.
Except I never got in.
Saturday morning I was at the farmers' market on Angela Street, so I decided to take the short, pleasant walk to the fairgrounds entrance on Pleasanton Avenue and go to the BBQ fair. There was a sawhorse on the driveway stating to enter the BBQ fair through the Valley Avenue gates.
As I entered the fairgrounds there on Pleasanton Avenue I was stopped by the security guard. He told me in no uncertain terms there were to be absolutely no walk-throughs to the BBQ fair allowed. He told me I was required to drive to the event and enter at Valley Avenue and pay the $8 parking fee for the "free event." I am not so sure I would really be required to drive to enter at Valley Avenue, but the prospect of walking an additional mile to go around on Bernal Avenue, Valley Avenue and through the whole of the fairgrounds parking lot was enough to dissuade me.
To be fair, a friend of mine was permitted entry on Sunday by a more lenient guard.
However, I am sure that the security guard I encountered was given very explicit orders to bar walk-throughs.
I think that the fairgrounds should make a commitment to allowing pedestrians entry to all events, and not create unreasonable barriers to pedestrians like requiring all entries limited to Valley Avenue.
And, certainly it is not a very wise policy to require all to drive to an event where alcohol is served.
Carl W. Pretzel
Out of food, out of fun
I paid $8 to park in the sun, stood in line to buy food for two and a half hours and when I was the 20th in line they announced they ran out of food. What a waste of money and time!
Jan Dal Porto
BBQ event to work out kinks next year
I would like to respond to both the editorial in the paper ("Fairgrounds BBQ was the pits," Aug. 24) and Carl Pretzel's letter. The fairgrounds has done some remodeling this year to extend the Green Gate entrance gate further closer to the parking lot to create a nice festival area with trees and grass. With this new setup, the promoters decided to control the entrance to their event from the Valley Avenue side of the grounds close to the parking lots which creates an issue for the few who walk through the grounds from Pleasanton Avenue. To clarify, the fairgrounds rents the space to the promoter.
The BBQ Cook-off and Music Festival was advertised as a "free admission" event with $8 parking included on the Web site, collateral etc.
I do apologize for the confusion by our security staff in regards to pedestrian traffic, as the amount of walk through traffic was not anticipated. This was a brand new event by the promoter, Bay Area Productions, in a newly enhanced area of the fairgrounds and as with most new events, improvements will be made for the future. Many thousands of attendees did enjoy the new event and the great BBQ food from award winning BBQ organizations across the nation. The promoter, Bay Area Productions, was thrilled with the turnout and intends to hold the event here at the fairgrounds next year.
I do kindly thank you for the feedback and your comments will be taken into consideration for the planning of future events in this specific area.
Events & Marketing Manager, Alameda County Fair