Western Days festival will happen on VCMWD land



A map of the new location for Western Days.

A map of the new location for Western Days.

Valley Center’s biggest and most popular event, Western Days, has struck an agreement with the Valley Center Municipal Water District to hold its festival on land the district owns on Lilac Road across the street from VC Community Center. The event will be held Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4, although there will be several ancillary events also happening that week leading up to the big weekend.

Western Days Chairman Gina Roberts told The Roadrunner the good news about the land for the festival, which happened after weeks of talks with the district.

“The water district has approved us using the field with conditions,” she said. “Conditions that we are willing and able to meet.” Those conditions include a hefty insurance requirement.

She added, “Gary Arant [the general manager of the water district] has been wonderful, working through it and doing everything he can to let the community use that property.”

Arant told The Roadrunner: “Western Days is a big part of Valley Center. We have this property that our rate payers invested in through our Board of Directors. If the community can benefit from using the property for wood chipping, parking for Western Days, etc., then we are all about that. Having the full Western Days on the property posed different challenges in terms of liability protection for the District and its rate payers, but we worked through it. I was happy to help Gina Roberts and the volunteers committed to keep the essence of what is Valley Center, alive.”

Western Days will take place on the southern half of the property. The district will not charge rent for the property. “They consider it a community resource,” said Roberts. “There is no rental fee but there are a lot of incipient fees because of the insurance.”

Logistically, although the property doesn’t have any water or electrical outlets, providing power and bathroom facilities will be no more challenging than providing them at the Community Center, where it’s been held for decades, or the VC Elementary School, where it was in 2019.

“We’ll run a 30 kw generator. We’ll have to bring our own bathrooms and electricity,” she said.

“It’s a good thing,” she added. “We are looking as a long term arrangement as long as the property is available. We’re very grateful that the water district is offering it to us.”

Although the rent for the Community Center last year was donated by the County, which was the co-sponsor of the vendors cost, this year it probably would have been around $4,500 Roberts estimates.

They will be allowed to have alcohol sales, again with proper insurances and ABC permits.

Roberts concluded, “All the details are still in the process of being worked out. Our intentions are to comply completely to the requirements of the water district and their insurance.”

Having more space to work with could be a game changer. “It’s the opportunity to have a lot more room,” said Roberts. “We’ll be able to get a big tent for shade and for community gathering. It gives us a chance to have a couple of big bands and a bigger stage. We are thrilled by the opportunity that it gives us.”

It will be safer too, she said. “We won’t have to have people cross the road to go from the parking to the event.”

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