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North County Times November 2004

By: CANDICE REED - For the North County Times

CARLSBAD ---- Nothing stopped shoppers from browsing the Carlsbad Village Street Faire on Sunday.

Not the prospect of searching side streets and back alleys for hard-to-find parking spots. Not the crush of holiday shoppers. Not even the occasional rain.

Fair organizers were predicting that more than 90,000 people would find their way to the fair, which stretched across several blocks in the city's downtown Village neighborhood.


A quickly passing rain shower dampened things a bit at first ---- sending some shoppers running for cover in area restaurants and stores ---- but by late morning the skies cleared enough for vendors to remove the plastic off their wares. Then it was business as usual, with shoppers walking shoulder-to-shoulder down streets filled with booths.

"It's a family tradition of ours that we all meet at the street fair," said Susan Beeson of Vista who, along with her 8-year-old son, Jake, was searching for family members. "Rain or shine we've been coming here for as long as I can remember. We wouldn't miss this for anything."

Merchandise was plentiful and much of it aimed at early holiday shoppers.

The Christmas Shoppe ---- three stalls of holiday knickknacks ---- had a line 30 deep and a doorman who acted like the business was the hottest new club in town.

"How many in your party?" he asked a thousand times by day's end as he let groups of people in to shop.

People dressed for the unpredictable weather in coats, shorts, sandals and boots, towing along wagons, suitcases and carts for their purchases of everything from cocktail glass jewelry to chiropractic back aids.

One local vendor, Carlsbad Gourmet, had a line of customers waiting eagerly to buy a homegrown product that was invented at a youth baseball game.

"My husband Russ is a baseball coach in Carlsbad and when our team played a group from Hawaii they brought us gifts from the islands," said Lisa Bruhn of Carlsbad. "When they went to Carlsbad they couldn't find any local products to buy, so Russ came up with a recipe for jams and spreads made from local Carlsbad strawberries.

"So far, we're doing a great business."

Other vendors ---- about 850 of them ---- were also doing a brisk business. Hats, scarves, T-shirts and jackets were flying off the shelves. The food court was also doing a good job of luring hungry shoppers to their booths as the smell of hot dogs, pizza and funnel cakes made its way through the streets of downtown.

Local stores and restaurants were also faring well. Hennessey's Restaurant and Pub on Roosevelt Street was slammed with patrons dining and sipping an occasional Irish coffee.

"All of the staff works on fair day no matter what's going on in your life," said bartender Sal Alvarez, who worked non-stop behind the bar. "We're busy until about 6 p.m. when the crowds finally start to die down and people go home. That's when it's time for us to party."

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