Good stuff

Who loves a parade?

  • Parades this weekend -- Livermore and Pleasanton hold their holiday parades on Saturday. The Hometown Holiday parade and tree lighting will be from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Main Street in Pleasanton, ending with the tree lighting at 603 Main St. Livermore's Holiday Sights and Sounds parade begins at 6 p.m. on First Street and ends with a tree lighting at First Street and South Livermore Avenue.

    Past Times

    Dec. 7, 1980 Top story of the Pleasanton Times

    Headline: "County Fair, Whim Worth Millions In Pleasanton"

    Not a lot was happening in Pleasanton in 1939, and a group of leading citizens and businessmen were looking for a way to give the town a shot in the arm.

    "Things were very quiet in Pleasanton then. A bunch of us would meet for lunch looking for something to drum up business" recalls lon time resident Jim Trimmingham.

    County fairs were gaining popularity in the late '30s. The state had legalized pari-mutuel racing and was giving money to associations running county fairs throughout California.

    "We had the grounds, the racetrack and barns and figured, 'Why not start a county fair here?' " Trimmingham said.

    With the blessing of Alameda County, Trimmingham, Crawford Letham and Ernest Schwern signed the incorporation papers, and the fair was started with four tent buildings and the racetrack. No one ever imagined that in their zeal to boost local business the fair would become one of the biggest businesses in the city. Not even Trimmingham, who would end up managing the fair in the '60s and '70s.

    The fair has turned into a year-round recreation facility in addition to the two weeks of activity during fair time. The Alameda County Fair operates on a nearly $4 million annual budget.

    As a county fair, it is the seventh largest in the state, according to a point system devised by the state Division of Fairs. But local people claim it ranks third or fourth largest in terms of paid attendance. It's six months away from fair time, but the 266-acre fairgrounds is constantly busy.

    This is a 52-week-a-year business, says Manager Lee Hall. Many of the buildings are leased for non-fair use including the roller rink, miniature golf course, indoor tennis courts and a regulation nine-hole golf course.

    More than 1 million people attend the fairgrounds each year. Even more year-round use is expected in years to come. This fall a plan to bring winter harness racing to the local track for added revenue created a furor among local residents and horsemen. That plan was eventually scrapped, as well as a plan to lease a giant water slide on the grounds.

    Real Estate: Valley Realty, Pleasanton. Living with a bear? Put him in a den. This large four-bedroom, two-bath home is ideal for the bear type who likes to hibernate. $138, 950.

    At the Movies: Dublin Cinema. "Elephant Man" with John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft and John Gielgud; and "Private Benjamin" with Goldie Hawn.

    Groceries: Safeway. Frozen hen turkeys, 69 cents a pound; grapes, 58 cents a pound; heads of lettuce, three for $1; and lobster tails, $8.98 a pound.

    Trivia Question: On Dec. 20, 1957, what music icon received an Army draft notice?

    Answer to last week's question: In December 1980, Great Britain performed a nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site.

    Contact Louise Hartman at lhartman@bayareanews group.com, or follow heron Twitter at Newsie1195.