Nearly 250 demonstrators, mostly students and young adults, are expected to show up at the fun zone on Saturday to peacefully protest the ExplorOcean museum and save the old charm of the fun zone.
Project: Save the Fun Zone is slated to start at noon and, according to the event’s facebook page, at least 244 people are expected to attend. The event is student-focused, but anyone who wants to support the cause is welcome to attend, said Corona del Mar High School junior, Courtney Brown, who organized the demonstration.
“The fun zone is important to all generations,” Brown said. “We [all] love and want to keep the charm of old Balboa.”
The group will meet near the gazebo and spread out from there. They be displaying posters and handing out flyers.
It will be a “peaceful public display of opposition against tearing down what remains of the Balboa Fun Zone to build an ExplorOcean Museum,” according to the event page.
The demonstration, which is more of a rally than a protest, Brown said, is scheduled during the same time as the Nautical Museum’s ExplorOcean Preview Center open house.
The goal of the project is to show “appreciation of the historic Fun Zone as the heart of Old Balboa among all generations.”
The Fun Zone could be fixed up, she suggested, while still maintaining the charm of old Balboa.
“It’s nothing negative against ExplorOcean,” she said. “It’s not appropriate [in that location]… It’s not the right place.”
She supports the idea of the museum and possible alternatives for it, she said.
The movement started after Brown read an article about the ExplorOcean plans.
“It really affected me,” she said. “ I knew a lot of my friends and young people in Newport Beach would really care about this… I knew we could make a statement.”
“For those of you who have grown up with the memories of old balboa, this could be your last chance to save it!” Brown wrote on the facebook page.
The group was originally named Project: Occupy the Fun Zone, but Brown said they are in no way affiliated with occupy movement, so she revised the name.
“It’s all about making a statement and getting the community involved,” she said.
“ We want to preserve the history [and charm] of old Balboa and the Fun Zone,” Brown said. We want to “preserve it, instead of expand it.”