RV and tent sites offer option for ball attendees

By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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Partiers at this year’s Black & White Ball at the Gold Country Fairgrounds don’t have to worry about drinking and driving. They can opt to bring their RV or tent and sleeping bag. An area near the fairgrounds barn is being set aside for RV parking, with about a dozen spaces reserved as of Monday, according to Pat Hitchcock, fairgrounds business assistant. Cost per space is $20. The tent area, which is free of charge, will be in a roped-off section at the ballfields. CalStar’s Sonya Vargas, who is in charge of the camping, hasn’t received any reservations yet, but has gotten a lot of phone calls expressing interest. “I’m really anticipating they’ll show up during the registration period from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday,” Vargas said Monday. Rules for the tent and RV areas will be similar to any other campground. Registration includes a list of requirements — for example, no campfires or propane tanks are allowed. But, just as with many other campsites, alcohol is allowed, and visitors can enter, although they’ll have to park on the street and walk in. “If (campers) want to have alcohol prior to the event, there’s nothing to prevent that,” Vargas said. “But once inside the ball, there’s no access back to the tents until they’re ready to leave.” Under the guidelines, tents must be up by 8:30 p.m. Saturday and no vehicles are allowed on the sports fields so campers must carry everything from the parking lot, Vargas added. The no-return policy for the ball will be strictly enforced. “They can’t come and go from the tent sites and RVs,” Hitchcock said. “Once they leave (the ball), they’ll have to buy another ticket to get back in.” The guidelines also include a quiet time from 2 to 8 a.m. Sunday. “If they don’t honor that, we’ll give police a call,” Vargas said. “It is a matter of courtesy to fellow campers. It’s like any campground — if you don’t behave, they can ask you to leave.” Vargas, who has actually camped at the site during a motorcycle expo, is optimistic that participants will be well behaved. “There weren’t any problems like that (when I stayed there),” she said. At the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, ball coordinator Britney Milbury said a lot of planning has gone into keeping the evening safe and incident-free. “We’ve walked the fairgrounds, all the circumference of the perimeter, discussing where to put security,” Milbury said. The chamber will have professional guards and volunteers patrolling the area, in addition to the Auburn Police Department, which will have extra officers on duty. “We’re going to focus on the event in its entirety,” said Sgt. Michael Garlock with Auburn Police. “If there’s a problem at a specific area, we’ll respond to it and deal with it appropriately.” For those who do choose to camp, there are restrooms and sinks at the ballfields. RVers will be able to use the dump station on Sunday, Hitchcock said. Reaction to the on-site accommodations has been enthusiastic, Milbury said. “They think it is a great idea,” she said. “They can just walk up the hill and crash. It’s safer for the city and for them and everybody.” Vargas agrees. “It takes advantage of free camping and they’re not drinking and driving,” she said. Gloria Young can be reached at ---------- Black & White Ball 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29 Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn Tickets are $70 at the Auburn Chamber of Commerce or $60 with discount coupon at Raley’s and Bel Air supermarkets in Placer County RV space reservations are $20; tent space is free For more information, call the Auburn Chamber at (530) 885-5616