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La Jolla traffic board backs street closures for Art & Wine Festival and guidelines for private events

Sylvia Aldebol shows art from her studio during the 2021 La Jolla Art & Wine Festival. This year's event is set for Oct. 8-9.
(Vincent Andrunas)

The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board unanimously supported temporary street closures and no-parking zones for the upcoming La Jolla Art & Wine Festival.

“This is a signature event for our community,” T&T Chairman Brian Earley said.

The approval will be forwarded to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for consideration.

Festival founder and Chairwoman Sherry Ahern said the 14th annual event, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8-9, will require road closures along Girard Avenue between Torrey Pines Road and Prospect Street, with the intersection at Girard and Kline Street kept open for vehicles to pass through.

Short portions of Silverado and Wall streets also would be closed.

The closures are planned to be in effect from 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, through about noon Monday, Oct. 10, to give festival participants time to set up before the event and clean up afterward, Ahern said.

Signs notifying drivers of the closures and no-parking zones will be posted 72 hours ahead.

Ahern said festival organizers will “personally talk to every one of the merchants on that street and let them know. I know parking is a big deal in this town.”

Last year, about six cars needed to be towed, she said.

The Art & Wine Festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 8-9 and is free to attend, except for ticketed entrance to the wine and beer garden for those 21 and older.

The festival will have 170 juried artists showcasing their works, a Geppetto’s Family Art Center with free hands-on crafts and interactive art, a gourmet food section and a silent auction area, along with roving entertainment, Ahern said.

“This event is for the community,” she said. “The hotels, the restaurants are full, and if the merchants do well, too, we feel good.”

All proceeds from the festival will go to the five public schools in La Jolla. The festival has donated more than $1 million to date, Ahern said.

Private event street closures

The La Jolla traffic board approved guidelines for private events in The Village, such as this Indian baraat on June 25.
The La Jolla traffic board approved guidelines for private events in La Jolla’s Village, such as this Indian baraat on June 25.
(Brian Earley)

The T&T Board also unanimously supported a set of guidelines for street closures for private events in La Jolla’s Village, a document intended to streamline the approval process for such events.

The approval followed months of discussion after the board OKd road closures for private events, one on Memorial Day, May 30, and the other on June 25, a Saturday.

Each was a baraat, a procession in an Indian wedding during which the groom rides a horse or an elephant to the ceremony, accompanied by his family members.

Given that both baraats took place on days when tourists normally flock to La Jolla, the road closures prompted concerns from T&T members about effects on traffic and parking.

The guidelines — which were refined after T&T’s discussions and input from the San Diego Special Events & Filming Department, which ultimately approves permit applications for such events — contain four items intended to “minimize the amount of time and disruptions to traffic flow, parking and businesses while celebrating the ceremony and cultural benefit of such events.”

They are to be applied to road closures for private events, not larger public events such as marathons and holiday parades, Earley said.

The four guidelines are:

• Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day are to be blacked out. Those dates are in addition to already-determined city blackout dates when events will not be approved due to the commitment of public safety resources such as traffic control and police officers elsewhere.

Earley said the holiday blackout would apply only to those days, not to weekends associated with them, as that would be “overreach” impacting travel plans and tourism dollars.

Board member Bill Podway said limiting the blackout to just the holidays also would respect the cultural nature of events such as baraats, as Indian weddings are planned for auspicious days determined by the couple’s birth dates and times in conjunction with the Hindu calendar.

• Applicants are asked to connect participating hotel staff and event organizers with the T&T Board for confirmation of event times “to assure mitigation of conclusion of the procession.”

• All processions must use a “short-term street closure,” with San Diego police opening streets and parking as an event rolls through.

• Processions should be limited to two hours.

Earley said the guidelines next will go to LJCPA for ratification.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, online or at a location to be determined. To learn more, email bearley1@san.rr.com.