Seaside Park (Ventura)

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Seaside Park is the traditional name of an event venue located at 10 West Harbor Boulevard in Ventura, California. The 62-acre site (25 ha) is the home of the Ventura County Fair.[1] Trade shows, concerts and other events are held throughout the year at the fairgrounds. The beach front site, just downcoast of the mouth of the Ventura River, also includes Surfers' Point, known for its point break that produces distinctive waves. Eugene P. and Orpha Foster envisioned a miniature Golden Gate Park when they donated the original 65 acres (26 ha) to the County of Ventura. They wanted a beautiful gateway to Ventura, where families could walk and picnic, play tennis, and enjoy family outings. Most of the site is now owned by the State of California and is managed by 31st District Agricultural Association.

Events and activities[edit]


Ventura County Fair sign

31st District Agricultural Association is a state special-purpose district in the Division of Fairs and Expositions of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The Fair Board’s role is to set and approve policies for the organization. Members of the Board of Directors are appointed by the governor of California. They organize the annual Ventura County Fair and run the Derby Club, a live via satellite horse racing off-track wagering facility.[2][3]

Events are held throughout the year, including trade shows, conventions, concerts, and festivals.[2] The year-round facility has convention facilities, demonstration halls, equestrian facilities which includes an 110,000 square feet (10,000 m2) arena, and administrative offices. Although the original race track and grandstand are long gone,[4] the Ventura Raceway is hosted at the fairground when the fair is not in season. Babe Ruth Field occupied the area where the large parking lot sits[5] and served as the home of the Ventura Braves, Ventura Yankees and Ventura Oilers professional baseball teams.[6]

Public recreation[edit]

Surf Check parking sign

The Omer Rains Bike Trail lies outside the fairgrounds fence running along the beach and river levee.[7] Connecting the San Buenaventura State Beach downcoast and Emma Wood State Beach upcoast, the path is on the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route and also serves as an access point for California Coastal Trail.[8] In 2011, the path was moved inland as part of a managed retreat project, a first of its kind in California.[9] Initially fair officials wanted a buried sea wall to protect the bike path that had been damaged since it was built in 1989. Surfers fiercely objected, fearing that this would destroy the point break near the Ventura River that generates the distinctive waves at Surfers' Point at Seaside Park, the city park area.[10] Environmentalists projected reduced habitat and increased erosion rates on nearby beaches by the altered wave patterns.[11][12]


Eugene P. and Orpha Foster envisioned a miniature Golden Gate Park since John McLaren, the designer of that park, was a family friend. They donated the original 65 acres (26 ha) to the County of Ventura, adding another 14 acres (5.7 ha) later. They wanted a beautiful gateway to Ventura, where families could walk and picnic, play tennis, and enjoy family outings.[13]

Miniature Railway[edit]

John J. Coit's locomotive at the Seaside Park in California. John Coit and his conductor "Shorty" Chase are shown just in front of the locomotive.

Around 1901, John J. Coit installed and operated a miniature railway in Seaside Park, probably with the unusual gauge of 14 12 in (368 mm). The locomotive, which had been designed by himself, was of the camelback type. After a short period of time he relocated some of the equipment to the Long Beach and Asbury Park Railway.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Ventura County Fairgrounds
  2. ^ a b Ventura County Fairgrounds Official Website
  3. ^ Mosk, Matthew (October 19, 1993) "Fairground Hopes off-Track Betting Is More Addictive Than Smoking : Recreation: Gamblers at Watch and Wager halls may find cigarettes no longer welcome after a board vote today." Los Angeles Times
  4. ^ "History of Ventura County Fair & Seaside Park" The Fillmore Gazette 2009 August 5
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Babe Ruth Field
  6. ^ Pastore, Eric and Wendy " Ventura" Accessed 20 November 2013
  7. ^ "Biking in California State Parks" California Department of Parks and Recreation website. Accessed 10 January 2014
  8. ^ California Coastal Trail Hiker's Guide: Ventura County Section 4 Map. Accessed 26 January 2014
  9. ^ Martinez, Arlene (May 2, 2016). "As El Niño ebbs, plan to move Surfers Point bike path in Ventura moves forward". Ventura County Star. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  10. ^ Barboza, Tony (January 16, 2011) "In Ventura, a retreat in the face of a rising sea" Ventura County Star
  11. ^ Downing, Jim; Blumberg, Louis; Hallstein, Eric (2014), "Case study 5: Surfers Point Managed Retreat", written at California Program, Reducing Climate Risks with Natural Infrastructure (PDF), San Francisco: The Nature Conservancy, p. 16, retrieved 9 November 2014 
  12. ^ Davis, Gail (September 12, 2000). "Rock Delivery Shores Up Surfers Point". Los Angeles Times. 
  14. ^ Arthur W. Line: Model Railways – XIX. – Eastlake Park Scenic Railway, Los Angeles, California. The Model Engineer and Electrician, 23 April 1908. Pages 395, 396, 397, 398 and 399.

Coordinates: 34°16′31″N 119°18′13″W / 34.27528°N 119.30361°W / 34.27528; -119.30361