What gives with the board of directors of the fair? Don't the people who call Napa their hometown get any consideration, or is it all about tourists and money?

We as citizens, longtime residents of Napa who have raised our children here, are seeing the things we associated with "Going to the Fair" becoming less and less for Napa residents. I see by the list of directors a great many of them are tied in with the wine industry, and that makes catering to the tourists more important than those of us who live here, have lived here a long time, and remember a Napa, as a hometown.

We remember the Fair as the Town & Country Fair for Napa, not the Napa Valley Expo.

Is it not enough that the once Town & Country Fair meant what it was called it was for the townspeople, about the townspeople, and those in the country outside of town? Not only did the board give its OK to the complete removal of the food vendors that raised money for the local schools, the fire department, local organizations, but served good food as well.

It also allowed us townspeople who used to attend the fair a place to contribute in a fun and local way to our town. But no, after the damage of the earthquake they decided not to repair, not to replace, but just erase their presence entirely. When do we start to count?

Now they can afford to support BottleRock because it is money; money coming in but the wonderful train club that has been part of the fairgrounds since the '70s is being asked to move out. What are you planning on replacing it with -- another wine tasting venue, a store that will sell BottleRock shirts and souvenirs, a parking lot for more BottleRock attendees?

What about us? When do we start to count in your plans or is it all about bringing in more and more people, to spend more and more money, and take away the town feel of Napa and replace it as a tourist destination instead?

The train club is an integral part of Napa. There are many of us who have taken our children there, the youngsters who are older now and part of the train club membership, the hours and hours of time donated by its members to not only repair the earthquake damage, but have the entire train system now operated by computers. It is a great destination for grandchildren, great grand-children to go and experience the activity of the train club.

We get lots of tourists and an even greater amount of noise from BottleRock. And while some locals attended BottleRock, it did nothing for most of the residents of our local town, and their families.

I ask again -- when do we townspeople start to count? Wake up, Napa, or there will be nothing to go to the fair for, nothing that reminds us of our hometown, nothing to remind us of the wonderful corn on the cob, the hamburgers, made by our local groups, and all the other goodies that made the local food vendors at the fair a fun place to go, to gather with friends, parents of classmates from Salvador School, and just sharing our local fair.

We once looked forward to attending the fair. But it has become less of a draw for locals, and possibly that is what you as fair directors are aiming for and would just as soon we didn't get involved, nor attend.

Abbey Silva


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