Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Unhelpful fair employees

It costs $10 to park at Cal Expo doing the State Fair! Outrageous. So, to get some exercise, decrease my carbon footprint, and avoid paying $10, we rode our bikes along the bike trail and into Cal Expo.
Upon arrival we searched for bike parking. Seeing none we approached an officer of the law.
“Excuse me, officer, do you know where we might find bike parking?” I asked.
“No, but you can’t take those in here,” He responded most unhelpfully.
So we moved on. We found some motorcycle parking and just past that we found a fair employee riding around on a golf cart looking official.
“ Excuse me, do you know where we could park our bikes?” I asked.
“Motorcycles?” He asked, looking at two girls on bikes.
“Uh, yeah, I just left my motorcycle back there, got on this bicycle so I could ride around looking for motorcycle parking,” I said... in my head.
He directed us farther up the way toward someone who may know where bike parking would be.
We found a man sitting near a metal bike stand. The stand wasn’t even bolted to the ground and the man informed us he wasn’t there to watch the bikes, just to make sure the people parking their cars are playing nice. So we lock up the bikes and go to the fair.
Now, at Maker Faire they gave you five dollars off entry and provided valet bike parking. Why couldn’t the fair for the the seventh largest economy in the world be that progressive. We’re California here, people! There was an entire exhibit about the history of bicycles and yet zero encouragement to ride them to the fair.
Instead, from atop the ferris wheel I look out over the expansive parking lots filled to the brim with shiny gas-guzzling cars.
Ok, enough of that soap box.
Water! We had a rough time finding drinking fountains, and when we asked a vendor if we could use their tap water the teen-age hot-dog on a stick employee said, “You have to buy a bottle.”
“I have a bottle.”
“No, it has to like say Dasani on it, or something.”
Ok ok ok, they have to make a buck. Whatever.  
The Alhambra Water exhibit gave out free samples of their water, in little paper cones. On every water dispenser is a sign saying “No Bottles, Use Paper Cups Only.”
I’m not much of a hippy. But I hate waste, and making people use paper cups instead of letting them fill up their water bottle is a huge waste!
Every music festival I’ve been to in the past several years has heavily featured their “greening” efforts, encouraging recycling, recycled products, carpooling, biking, buses. The State Fair seemed to try to create more waste when ever possible.
Here's a picture of me infront of the Humboldt exhibit.


sac cycle chic said...

In the past the Valet parking from SABA worked during the fair. The fair management can't no longer afford paying SABA. Although, needless to say the price was small.

Now basically you're on your own. Need to find parking in the neighborhood around the fairgrounds.

I'm thankful and fortunate that they gave my bicycle credentials to enter the fair on the days that I have the presentation at the bicycle exhibit.

My recommendation is that if enough of us make enough noise, they might choose to bring Valet parking next year.

Laura W. said...

That's too bad about the bikes and the water. In past years, you could always fill up your water bottles from Alhambra for free as long as you didn't have a wrapper on your bottle from a competitor. I never park at Cal Expo, but park across the street and walk over. We had season passes to the water park there last year and almost everyone parked across the street. I think the whole fair is a rip off, especially the rides, and stopped going once I realized it was cheaper to go to an amusement park, where I'd have more fun and less heat.

Kate said...

This doesn't sound like the green California I miss and love! Sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience :( Sounds like you're on the right track to making some change though! Hope that this got some word out!

Forevermelody said...

Thanks for the background Cycle Chic and Laura. I didn't know that these struggles are recent.
I should have just stood there and used the paper cup to transfer water into my water bottle.
The rides were only a dollar when I went, so they weren't so expensive, but man... they were awful. Just all spinny and oh, it was terrible.
The ferris wheel was nice but then it reminded me about all the stupid cars and lack of bike parking and it made me mad.
Although, I did get to see baby animals!!! So it wasn't a completely wasted day.

Viquena said...

That is really crazy, we must have used different entrances. We came in directly off the bike trail (where all of the animal people enter) and the people were very helpful and let us park inside the fair fence. Mr. Bag Searcher even let us lock up our bikes before he looked through our stuff, most convenient! By the way, did you see the Calaveras exhibit? I was so proud of them.


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