September 8, 2007 - Oprah Arrivals
Twenty three hundred dollar-per-head party goers arrived at Gate B of the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon for the bus ride over to Oprah's house eight miles away in Montecito. The dedicated staff of edhat.com arrived at the scene early. We entered at Gate A and parked in our dedicated parking spot near the satellite wagering.
In the back of the main parking lot we found a slew of tour buses and their drivers. The drivers - who were from out of town - told us that it was their first time taking A-list bus riders. We should have asked what the last trip they took was, but our guess would be something like, a school field trip or some overnighters to Vegas.
Many valet parkers were also on the spot to park the cars of the partygoers. Valet parkers seem to line up in straight lines naturally,
and this afternoon was no exception. After getting out of their cars, Oprah's party guests proceeded to a bus waiting area away and out of view. We never saw a bus leave, but our assumption was, when they had an adequate number of riders on hand, a bus would pull up to the curb, fill up, and head for Montecito.
We didn't recognize any of the people arriving for the party. We observed that many of them were African American - many of them were female - and many of them wore brightly colored dresses and wraps. Hoping not to be politically incorrect, we would call the style of dress, "African".
We sat down on a curb and took some pictures of the people we didn't know getting out of the their cars and heading toward the waiting room.
Eventually, a man with an earpiece told us that we weren't allowed to take pictures on the property. Apparently the rules were different for the Oprah Party than they were for the Math Super Bowl. We didn't argue. We put our camera away and walked back to the satellite horse races where the topic of conversation today was the promiscuity of girls in Argentina in the late 1950's.
Before we left the Showgrounds, we walked out to Gate B to check out the rest of the scene. There we saw a massive traffic jam of nice cars filled with well-groomed people. The cars were waiting to pull up to a person holding a clipboard - who was standing by the man on the horse statue - validating invitations. The next time Oprah throws a party, she might consider locating the drive-thru check-in a bit further back in the parking lot. That would allow the cars queuing-up to take up less of the public road.
As we walked back to our car, we went past a table where there was another woman with a clipboard dealing with "issues". We saw two guests who apparently had been left off the guest list. "There are never any problems," the guest was lecturing, "just solutions."
The solution to getting back home was to leave through Gate A and smile and wave at the drivers stopped in traffic who let us make a left turn away from the scene.
Here are the not-so-great pictures we took of the event