Cal Star to offer free camping at fairgrounds for Black & White Ball attendees

By: Megan Sanders Journal Correspondent
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California Shock and Trauma Air Rescue, better known as Cal Star, has rented the ball fields above the fairgrounds so Black & White ball attendees can have an alternative option to driving home. Sonja Vargas, Cal Star’s community service representative, said the local air ambulance company wants to assist in the safety of the Black & White Ball. “Anything we can do to help,” Vargas said. She said that ball participants will be able to pitch a tent and camp on the field for free, and there will be a limited amount of recreational vehicle space, but those fees will have to be paid by the RV camper through the fairgrounds. Cal Star is a non-profit helicopter air ambulance that provides rapid transport and medical transport. The helicopter has a pilot and two registered nurses. Vargas said it is their mission to save lives, but the No. 1 thing they are called out to is motor vehicle accidents. “Being a sponsor and doing the camping falls well into our mission,” Vargas said. Not only can participants avoid getting a DUI by staying at the fairgrounds, they can ensure their safety as well as others. “We want to discourage drinking and driving,” Vargas said. Previous Black & White Ball’s have been tainted with several drunk-driving arrests. There will be a registration form that the campers will be required to fill out, and it will be available for pre-registration. For the most part the camping spots will be first-come, first served. Vargas said the forms can be picked up at the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and can be faxed to her at Cal Star. The forms have some general guidelines, like no campfires, and consideration for fellow campers. From 4:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 29 there will be registration and set up. Vargas said all the tents will have to be set up by 8:30 p.m. when the ball starts. She said there are a limited number of taxis so this presents another alternative. Also she said Cal Star wanted to be a part of the ball last year, but it did not work out. But with the ball being at a new location, it worked out well, Vargas said. “We are really hoping that the participants will take advantage of it,” Vargas said. Auburn resident Lisa Clarke said that camping is a good idea. “It allows those who could be reckless to be safe,” Clarke said. Clarke added that she lives fairly close to the fairgrounds and hopes that it will be as contained as they said it will be. Jim Carmen, also of Auburn, is very familiar with Cal Star and said that the fairgrounds are a good place for the ball and for Cal Star to participate. “I think it is a great thing,” Carmen said. “A little more controlled.” Bruce Cosgrove, the chamber director, said last year they were trying to find a fit for Cal Star. They came up with the idea on their own as a sponsor for the ball, Cosgrove said. “It’s their way of doing something nice for the community,” he said. He added that some ball-goers are going to see this area as a plus and that they are doing what they can to reduce the number of DUI’s that occur after the ball. “Camping and RV facilities are one more effort to provide options,” Cosgrove said. Megan Sanders can be reached at or comment at ----------------------------------------- Camping requests Registration is from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 29 at the fairgrounds or the registration forms will be at the Auburn Chamber of Commerce for pre-registration. The forms can be faxed in to Sonja Vargas at (530) 887-1629. All tents have to be set up by 8:30 p.m. and check out will be at noon on Sunday. For more information call Sonja Vargas at (530) 887-0569. Black & White Ball info The theme of this year’s ball is “Summer Nights- It’s America Anywhere USA.” Tickets to the Black & White Ball are available for purchase at the Grass Valley Raley’s and Auburn Bel Air locations. They are $70, or $60 with the $10 off coupon from Raley’s/Bel Air. Or call the Auburn Chamber of Commerce at (530) 885-5616.