Welcome to the middle of somewhere
While the new venue for unSCruz this year is bigger, better and (arguably) more beautiful than our previous home, it is a good bit more remote and less surrounded by amenities than the Watsonville fairgrounds. That means some amount of preparation for a scarcity of comfort and services in your immediate surroundings is recommended.
Still, to all you crusty burners who are veterans of survival and celebration in the barren wasteland of That Thing In The Desert, getting to unSCruz should still be a walk in the park (perhaps quite literally).
Lacking at this year’s venue are dust and (probably, hopefully) triple digit temperatures. Abundant are rolling hillsides, grass, lots of space for theme camps and art, indoor restrooms with modern plumbing and comfortable indoor areas for continued boisterous after-hours camaraderie.
The San Benito County Fairgrounds (9000 Airline Highway, Tres Pinos, CA 95075) is far enough away from civilization that you should probably search for it by its official name—Bolado Park—on your map or navigation machine when planning your route.
To be more specific, the San Benito Fairgrounds is located just outside the sleepy farm town of Tres Pinos in west-central San Benito County, just more than 50 miles from Santa Cruz. It should take you just over an hour to get there, if traffic is unusually light. The most likely route from Santa Cruz and points north and east is through the city of Hollister, from the north on Highway 25.
The nearest services of all kinds—most gas stations, hotels, hospital, grocery and liquor stores, taquerias, fast food (restaurants in general), etc.—can be found in Hollister (population approximately 43,000), which is a leisurely eight (8) miles north of Bolado Park. So if you’re anticipating driving back through Hollister on the way home, make sure on your route in that you have enough vehicle gas to carry you and all your passengers and gear at least eight miles.
The nearest hospital is Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital at 911 Sunset Drive in Hollister, about 8.6 miles away.
The town of Tres Pinos is about 1.7 miles north of Bolado Park (you’ll drive through it on the way down from Hollister). It’s not really a town, but a strip of three restaurants (the kind that are open when their operators want to be open), a very small gas station (the sort likely to attract long lines during times of high demand), a farm bureau and a church. It might be the spot for an off-site visit during your unSCruz if you’re craving a salty, fattening, commercial sit-down meal—or if you want to go to Sunday mass.
If you’re traveling to or from Bolado Park from the south, the need for preparation should be taken a little more seriously. The closest gas station to the south of the San Benito Fairgrounds is exactly 76 miles, and filling your tank on your way to unSCruz is highly recommended.
If you’re into nature-watching or tourism or similar pastimes, also to the south of Bolado Park on Highway 25 is Pinnacles National Park (it’s in fact quite stunning). Just to the north of our venue is the San Benito County Historical Park. Numerous wineries are scattered through the area.
Temperatures in San Benito County in early May historically range from highs around 70 degrees and lows in the high 50s. It’s usually rather dry by that time of year, but this of course has not been a usual year weather-wise—so check the forecast before embarking and pack accordingly.
As always, be sure to travel safely and responsibly to unSCruz and back home. We’re all looking forward to seeing you there and at future events.