November 2006 Article

The first weekend in November is here, and it always means the same thing — thousands of people will converge in downtown Carlsbad to take part in the largest one-day street fair in the United States.

The Carlsbad Village Street Faire will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. It is held each year in May and November.

Now in its 32nd year, the free event has grown quite popular.

More than 100,000 people have attended for the past five years, said Ted Owen, president of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the fair. Previously, it boasted an attendance of 90,000.

“People come from all over the place,” Owen said. “It has become an annual trek for a lot of people.”

Carlsbad Gourmet, a company that manufacturers strawberry-based sauces and spreads, is a crowd favorite. Owner Russ Bruhn said it takes 10 people to staff his busy booth.

“We normally go through close to 100 or 150 cases of product which is roughly 20 cases an hour, so we’re selling about a case every three minutes,” Bruhn said.

Carlsbad Gourmet is one of hundreds of vendors that sell so much merchandise, they sign up for the next fair before the day is even over, Owen said.

About 800 vendors usually sell almost everything imaginable, including jewelry, household products, art, music and holiday items. More than 50 booths will sell various types of food.

Wines from Witch Creek Winery and specialty beers from Pizza Port, Stone Brewing Co. and Green Flash Brewing Co. will be available.

Only attendees 21 and older are allowed in the wine and beer garden, which will be open from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Bands will provide entertainment in the beer garden, as will a big-screen television.

“People don’t have to stay home to watch the game. They can come out and support us and drink beer and watch the game,” said Jo Kirkenaer, president of the Rotary Club of Carlsbad.

Kirkenaer said the proceeds will benefit the club’s many charitable projects, such as providing scholarships to high school students and keeping Carlsbad’s parks clean.

Other attractions include children’s rides and a pancake breakfast.

Because downtown will be swarming with people, parking will be difficult.

People should use the complimentary shuttles that will run every 15 minutes, said Brian Roth, general manager of the company that manages the fair.

The shuttles will pick up and drop off passengers at the northwest corner of Sears at Westfield Plaza Camino Real, as well as the Poinsettia train station.

Roth said Grand Avenue from Carlsbad Boulevard to Jefferson Street and all of the cross streets in between will be closed for the fair. He said the streets will close at 4 a.m. Sunday and should reopen by 6:30 p.m.

Reach reporter Angela Holman at (760) 752-6750.