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Published May 3rd, 2017
A new look for the 11th annual Moraga Community Faire
Local artist Jaya Griggs will again offer pet portaits Photo Andy Scheck

For 10 years now Ellen Beans had been the Moraga Chamber of Commerce's Community Faire leader. Now, the former Citizen of the Year decided that a decade was enough and passed the baton. It took two co-chairs to fill her shoes: Ashley Louisiana and Ian Cook represent the new generation of Moraga movers and doers who took on the challenge, supported by an experienced team of volunteers.
They are producing an event on May 13 that will be more condensed and integrated for additional interaction between visitors, vendors and the car show. They are also introducing novelties such as pony rides for kids.
Even if the layout and feel will be changed, residents will find at the fair many of the elements that have made this regional event - it attracts some 2,000 people. A Kid's Zone, live entertainment, food trucks, local wine, classic cars and all sorts of fun booths is what make the event "an old fashion neighborhood fair for the whole family," they say.
The co-chairs note that this event is the best chance for the local businesses, small and large, to show off and really interface with the residents, while providing local entertainment and fun.
"There are so many resources here in town that many of us can overlook from time to time," says Cook. He adds that everything from the signs being printed, to the kids' activities like the bounce houses and balloon animals, are produced and provided by Moraga residents and chamber of commerce members. The entire entertainment lineup of bands, dancers, and performers is also local. Among the day's highlights will be performances from the Saint Mary's Jazz Band and the Campolindo High School band, as well as a presentation by CAPA dancers.
"All in all, it is really a time for the community to come together and shine, and that sense of pride in community is really why we all do it," says Cook.
Because Louisiana, Cook and the team noticed that there really are some fascinating and exciting cars on display during the car show, they rethought the fair design to integrate that part of the fair better, and this year, there will also be a car parade at the conclusion of the car show. The cars will circle the fair in an exit formation that should make for quite a demonstration. "It is one thing to look at the cars in the lot, but to hear them all fire up and circle the fair will be exciting," says Cook.
Even if the fair is celebrating old cars, it will also do its part to limit the environmental footprint and encourage folks to ride their bikes to the Rheem Valley Shopping Center where it will take place again this year. Bike valet will be provided, so that people do not have to worry about finding a good spot to lock up their bikes for the day. The Moraga Police Department will be providing a bicycle safety course, as well as inspecting bikes to make sure that they are safe to ride.
A good fair needs food and beverages, and food trucks will be selling snacks or quick lunch items such as sliders filled with 100 percent grass-fed beef. Adult beverage booths served under the trees will offer beer and a variety of wines made by local wineries. Artists' wares, craft food items, and local businesses and organizations will be featured in booths throughout the fair.
Louisiana is on the board of the Moraga chamber of commerce and is Waste Prevention and Recycling Manager for Recycle Smart. She has attended the event as a vendor for close to 10 years and joined the committee about four years ago to oversee the recycling, organics and landfill services. She remembers how Beans and the fair were one of the first events in the entire service area requesting organic food scrap collection.
Cook started as a vendor and sponsor while working with the Moraga Country Club, then got more involved with the chamber of commerce and began set-up/take-down and various other volunteer roles. Cook is director, new business and operations for MedMatrX.
"We plan to honor Ellen (Beans) and her work in the community and the fair by having her ride in a convertible in front of the car parade," says Louisiana. The Moraga Community Faire & Car Show will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 13 at the town's Rheem Valley Shopping Center.

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