Festival Waits Out El Niño

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Planned reconstruction of the interior grounds of the Festival of Arts will take place a year from now, postponed due to an expected wet winter, the board decided recently.

“We thought about the delay long and hard,” said Fred Sattler, president of the Festival’s board.

With one performance of the Pageant of the Masters rained out in July, only the third time since 1933, and an unusual September rainstorm earlier, the board considered the unusual weather as “portents of things to come,” he said, ultimately deciding, “let’s not tempt fate,” he said

New construction was scheduled to commence immediately after the close of this year’s festival on Aug. 31. “We only have seven or eight months for the entire project. If there’s significant rain, we have nothing but mud and would lose too many work days to open in time,” said Sattler, referring to the annual art show and tableau vivant production of 2016.

The project, overseen by Bauer Architects of Newport Beach, now is re-scheduled to be completed by 2017. Bauer also was responsible for last year’s construction of the festival façade, finalized only days before this summer’s opening.

The new project calls for demolition of the interior festival grounds. Reconstruction is to begin with grading of the terrain to comply with access rules for the disabled. Aging utilities are to be buried, display areas are to be fitted with roofs to shelter art from sun and rain, and the gift shop will be relocated. Also planned is a new stage, a new entertainment area and refurbishment of public restrooms.

The project received approval from the City Council in July.


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