The Fate of the Cow Palace

To many of us, the Cow Palace represents one thing: the Dickens Christmas Fair, where so many of us enjoy spending a good portion of the winter months, reveling in Dickensian England, surrounded by dozens of our closest friends and entertaining the public.

But Dickens Fair only takes up a small side-building of the Cow Palace, for just two months out of the year. The rest of the year, the Cow Palace remains a hollow shell of the grand gathering place it was in decades past. Chainlink fences separate it from the surrounding community, the gigantic parking lot is typically a desolate stretch of asphalt, and when niche events do use the venue, they give very limited contribution to the surrounding community.

Even the Dickens Fair doesn't really bring anything to the neighborhood as a whole. A few actors may pop over to McDonalds or KFC for a snack occasionally, but predominantly the money that the event generates stays within the chain link fence.

Now that the city is planning to buy the Cow Palace, level the existing venue and replace it with housing, shopping centers and a school. Things that the community desperately needs all twelve months of the year. They want to destroy the venue in which we've spent the past many years celebrating the holidays in an unparalleled manner. So our instinct is to resist, to fight back, to petition the city to keep the venue as it is, so we may continue out revels.

But please, take a step back. Look at the Cow Palace as a whole, instead of just our small portion of it. Look at the community that the Cow Palace is in the center of. Is it really the best possible use for such a huge plot of land? Should we really be fighting to save a venue that is out of code, out of its time, and out of sync with the neighborhood in which it resides?

The Dickens Fair didn't start at the Cow Palace. We can move our little slice of England to another venue and it will continue to live for decades to come. I urge you all to keep this in mind over the coming months. Instead of pouring your energy into "saving" something that's already showing signs of decay, why not instead pour it into finding a new venue for the event that we all love so much.

Don't fight to keep hold of the past. Look forward to rebuilding fresh for the next chapter of the Dickens Fair's history.