September 8, 1986

S.F.Fair Ends With Big Ideas For 1987

By Edward W. Lempinen

Chronicle Staff

As the last sounds and aromas swirled into the bay wind last night, San Francisco Fair organizers were already making plans for a different kind of festival next year. Not that there were substantial problems this year. Yet the weather was uninspiring, at best, and organizers blamed that for holding the crowd at Fort Mason from 10,000 to 20,000 people below the expected 60,000 attendance.

If we'd had four sunny days, we'd have been mobbed," said fair publicist Gary Pike. The sun broke through the cover of gray once yesterday before disappearing again. When asked whether she was disappointed, the fair's executive director, Susan Stowens, said: "No, not really, it looks very nice. It's been going very well."

Still. this was apparently the last September fair at Fort Mason. Now in its fifth year the fair spent its first two years at Moscone Center and the past three years at the current location. One official suggested that the fair has "outgrown" Fort Mason.

Stowens said next year's fair probably will be at the Civic Center. Fair strategists are also hoping to introduce a more international 'flavor at the fair next August. Stowens said that they will seek a "Pacific Rim" theme and will try to include Asian countries "that have large populations in San Francisco." .

SFChron9-8-86.jpg (106567 bytes)  Biker Darcy Langlois leaped over Danny Dempsey as part of the show
"Eventually, we want to expand to a more international expo," Stowens said. "We want to be a combination of an expo, a World's Fair and a county fair. Added Pike: "And we want to be an only-in San-Francisco fair.'. Stowens and others emphasized that popular events, such as the Fog-Calling Contest and the Impossible Parking Space Race, will be continued under any new format.

Yesterday the crowd appeared to be happy with those and other activities. People milled in the. outdoor food area listening to music and basking in the wind-whipped ambiance. Commercial booths, community group tables and displays filled two piers and an expansive concourse area. Fairgoers clutched brightly colored balloons as they walked through the area, pausing at the performance stage, the exhibits and the booths selling everything from fortunes to political candidates.

Others sought shelter near the indoor exhibits, some looking over playwright Philip Real's winning entry in. the Herb Caen Write. Alike Contest. The occasionally humorous column, which mimicked The Chronicle columnist's trademark "three-dot" journalism style, included such jokes as:

" . . . In a surpirse (sic} move, President Reagan will announce that he is throwing his support behind Jello Biaira as the Republican candidate for the Presidency when Mr. Reagan's term is up. Sources close to the White House say that Nancy feels Jello is a stronger candidate than George Bush."