When fairgoers step onto the Grape Festival grounds this year, they’ll notice a number of new improvements and upgrades to the property. Mark Armstrong answered a series of questions about the new projects.
Q: Tell me about some of the recent grounds improvements to Burgundy Hall and elsewhere on the property.
A: Burgundy Hall was previously carpeted, and the carpet was very dirty and stained. We searched and got a great deal on tile and had the entire building re-covered with ceramic tile. We even extended the tile into both restrooms.
It was quite a process, as the old floor had a lot of carpet glue that had to be scraped off, then the floor had to be etched.
Q: How will improvements benefit those who use the grounds?
A: The improvements make the building much more versatile for rentals, and it looks much better.
Q: I understand there was a lighting upgrade in the Grape Pavilion. Why is this important?
A: The Lodi Grape Festival lighting project in the Grape Pavilion is one that we have wanted to do for many years.
The old lights were the original fixtures from when the building was built, with some modifications over the years. The lighting was very poor and not energy efficient at all.
With the help of Mike Mueller, from Mueller Electric, we found and purchased new fixtures and Mike retrofitted them to adapt with the old system. The lights hang high in the ceiling and changing the bulbs is very complicated and time consuming.
With the new lights, not only are they much, much brighter, but the life of the bulbs are substantially longer and they are now able to be turned on and off with light switches instead of breakers.
Q: When was the work done?
A: It was completed in July.
Q: What other changes might fair-goers see?
A: Another improvement that we have made, while minor, will make a big difference. We have put up barriers around our south parking lot that make it more manageable and cuts down on necessary time for set up and tear down for the fair.
It has also eliminated people driving across the lot when it is not fair-time.
We are currently in the process of getting a new electronic sign on the corner of Cherokee Lane and Lockeford Street.
The sign we have now is almost 10 years old and is having hardware and software issues. The lights are all being changed to full color LED bulbs, and the sign will be able to handle more extensive graphics. Fresno Neon out of Fresno is doing the job.
Q: What is the No. 1 difference fair-goers will see this year when it comes to facilities?
A: The fairgrounds are constantly being maintained and improved. I think what fair-goers will notice most is the improved lighting in the Pavilion, but they will also see the overall superior appearance.
Every improvement project makes us want to do more.