Adams Avenue Street Fair, 2003
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Welcome, by Marco Anguiano
Marco Anguiano, Executive Director of the Adams Avenue Business Association

Webmaster's Note: Our condolences to the friends and family of Marco Anguiano who passed away 08/24/2005.

Welcome to the 22nd edition of the Adams Avenue Street Fair. We're glad you could join us for our little block party! You're in for a real treat in our historic barrio. This festival has been recognized by the media as "Southern California's largest free music festival." But why?

Because the Street Fair spans seven blocks of Adams Avenue and continues alongside Adams Park? Or is it the 90 great music acts on seven stages; giant carnival rides in Adams Park; hundreds of exotic food, arts, and crafts vendors? Could it be that over 150,000 people will be taking it to the streets over a period of two days?

The real reason this fair is a great event is YOU, your family, and your friends! If you weren't here, "Southern California's largest free music festival" wouldn't exist. You're the ones who appreciate quality music and follow your ears to Adams Avenue. You're the ones who gather the babies and old ladies and treat yourselves to carnival rides, rare merchandise, exotic clothes, scented incense, rare jewelry, spicy sausages, and steaming kabobs.

And you are the ones who will stroll, shop and dine on the Avenue long after the Street Fair is over. It is you who help drive the economic engine that revitalizes our historic neighborhood. You are our customers and we appreciate you.

Why Is It Fair?
The Street Fair is co-sponsored by the Adams Avenue Business Association (AABA) and the Normal Heights Community Association (NHCA). Proceeds from the Carnival in Adams Park benefit Adams Elementary School and the NHCA's after-school arts program. The AABA not only produces the event to brand Adams Avenue as a shopping destination, it also generates a portion of its budget through Street Fair sponsorships and the sale of vendor spaces.

The Street Fair is only part of the AABA's marketing program, which includes the Adams Avenue Roots Festival, San Diego/Adams Avenue Antique Street Faire, Taste of Adams Avenue, a Community and Business Directory, an Antique Row marketing brochure, and our website

Rocking the Avenue
Furthermore, the Business Association works with the City of San Diego to bring about public improvements to Adams Avenue such as trees, antique street lights, sidewalk repairs, and storefront improvements. The AABA also administers a Maintenance Assessment District contract with the City. We are responsible for tree care, cleanup, graffiti abatement, and landscape maintenance of select areas of Adams Avenue.

In 1999 the AABA partnered with the Normal Heights United Methodist Church to develop a blighted block and construct the Adams Elementary School Annex. Because of this effort, kids no longer have to be bussed out of the neighborhood to other schools. The AABA also helped create a computer lab and after-school program that publishes Normal Height Kids which is in your lap now. These projects are possible through the cooperation of our political representatives, including District 3 Council Member Toni Atkins.

M.A.D. About You
The Adams Avenue Business Association is advocating among property owners along the Avenue to create additional assessment districts for the installment and maintenance of new antique lights and/or trees from 33rd Street west to the 805 overpass, from 30th to Texas Street, and along 30th Street from Adams Ave. to El Cajon Blvd. If successful, this endeavor will create new Maintenance Assessment Districts that the AABA will be responsible for.

Wow! What is P.R.O.W.?
Another project that will help beautify Adams Avenue and encourage pedestrian-oriented shopping is the P.R.O.W., which stands for Public Right of Way. P.R.O.W. will allow four business districts in the City to permit appropriate merchandising, sidewalk dining, and signage in their areas. After five years of intense organization and negotiation, the City of San Diego has collaborated with Adams Avenue, North Park, Ocean Beach, and Little Italy and ceded control of the P.R.O.W. to these districts as part of a two-year pilot project. Businesses will no longer have to pay hundreds of dollars in permit fees. Instead they'll be issued permits through their local business association. Ideally, this will stimulate great opportunities for outdoor merchandising, such as Vintage Sol (Ohio St. & Adams Ave.), sidewalk cafes such as Antique Row Cafe (30th & Adams), and graphically appealing sidewalk signs that you see along Adams Avenue.

Street Fair Hall of Fame
As the leading sponsor of the Street Fair, we want to recognize several key people who've helped the event mature musically over the past ten years:

  • Kevin Morrow, former Belly Up Tavern talent buyer, current VP at House of Blues
  • Lou Curtiss, owner Folk Arts Rare Records, traditional music archivist
  • Lee Birch, musician, former Normal Heights Lounge Lizard
  • Buddy Blue, standout San Diego musician, music writer, O.C. Weekly, S.D. Union-Tribune
  • David Coddon, George Varga, Michael Kinsman, arts writers, S.D. Union-Tribune
  • Steve Kader, chief talent buyer, 4th & B; music archivist; and ex-former talent manager
  • Dana Shocaroff, Street Fair Music Committee, big ear for the blues, resident bullhorn
  • Dave Johnson (RIP), Street Fair Music Committee, "Big Dave" in the wheelchair, booming voice, Charger fanatic and discriminating ear for various genre

There are many people, too numerous to include here, whose involvement with the Adams Avenue Street Fair has helped transform it into a distinctive festival one that has captured the heart of the neighborhood, of Southern California, and beyond. These people, whose names have been omitted due to lack of space, not to lack of gratitude, include block captains, beer garden staff, cleanup crews, and others who make the festival a resounding success.

The Adams Avenue Street Fair expresses its gratitude to our sponsors: City of San Diego, City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, County of San Diego, Sycuan Casino, Crows Feet Productions, Naked Juice, San Diego Media Arts Center, Apex Music, San Diego Childrens Museum, and Inn Suites. Our media sponsors include the San Diego Reader, 103.7 The Planet, FM 94.9, San Diego CityBEAT, Jazz 88, Auto Trader, Telemundo 33, KSWB 5, and the Son Diego Troubadour.

Marco Anguiano
Executive Director, Adams Avenue Business Association

(Source: The San Diego Troubadour, page 3, September-October 2003)
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