Out go the lights: Nevada County Fair, Grass Valley experience power outage | TheUnion.com

Out go the lights: Nevada County Fair, Grass Valley experience power outage

Fair goers utilized cell phone lights to make their way out of the Nevada County Fairgrounds arena where the monster truck show was in full swing before the power outage and subsequent vegetation fire.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

The Nevada County Fair took an unexpected turn Friday night when a power outage caused the festivities to shut down early.

The outage took place at approximately 8:23 p.m. Friday. The midway remained operable, mostly due to generators provided by the touring carnival supplier, Butler Amusements.

Darkness loomed over Treat Street and vendor booths throughout much of the grounds — including the arena where the monster truck rally was being held — with many fair goers relying on cell phones to light their path.

At one point, a vendor across from the KNCO booth found a source of power — likely a generator which elicited cheers from those lining the path. However, the restoration was limited to the one booth.

Rides and carnival games along the midway were still in operation past 9 p.m., at which point many attractions on Treat Street had been closed.

According to Wendy Oaks, information officer for the Nevada County Fair, the outage was caused by a transformer that exploded offsite near the fairgrounds. Oaks said an outage of this magnitude has not been known to occur during her tenure with the fairgrounds.

The explosion resulted in a small fire in the area near the Northstar Mining Museum at the corner of Allison Ranch Road. Flames ranging from 10 to 20 feet in height could be seen behind the museum along Wolf Creek.

An announcement was made around 9:15 p.m. that the fair would be closing and patrons were encouraged to exit the grounds.

The Nevada County Sheriff’s office received nine calls between 9:14 and 9:48 p.m., all pertaining to issues surrounding the early closing of the fair.

Most calls were complaints and concerns regarding the heavy traffic leaving the area. Several of those calls were pertaining to reported fights breaking out between people trying to leave the fairgrounds, one from a caller who reported vehicles ramming at Gate 4 in an attempt to leave.

Nearly 1,500 PG&E customers were affected by the outage. Power was back up and running as of Saturday morning.

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at jnobles@theunion.com or 530-477-4231.

Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez contributed to this report. He can be reached by email at efunez@theunion.com, or call 530-477-4230.

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