Festival brings street closures this weekend

By Ashley Mackin

The La Jolla Art & Wine Festival (LJAWF) is back this weekend (Oct. 13-14), with organizers promising that the annual fundraiser for La Jolla schools will be bigger and better than ever. To accommodate the event — where 30,000 people are expected — the Village streets of Girard Avenue between Prospect and Kline streets will be closed to vehicle traffic both days, beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.

Admission to the 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. festival will be free for the first time, thanks to a $40,000 investment from Wells Fargo Bank (although a $5 donation will be accepted at the entrances).

Also for the first time, organizers have partnered with the La Jolla Village Merchants Association to move the event into the Village where “booth gaps” throughout the festival will provide access to Village shops and restaurants along the way.

“The La Jolla Art & Wine Festival’s partnership with the La Jolla Village Merchants Association has created this amazing symbiotic relationship in the community,” said LJAWF Founder Sherry Ahern. “It’s evident that the festival has fostered a new connection between the [over] 6,000 parents and [over] 3,000 local students with the local businesses. I’ve never felt such camaraderie for such an amazing, worthwhile cause. Now in our fourth year, it’s truly incredible how far this event has come.”

Sheila Fortune, executive director of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, said the merchants are “extremely excited” about their partnership with LJAWF. “We applaud the festival’s strong commitment to our community, the schools it supports, as well as its desire to bring in more business to the merchants, which is something aligned with our own goals.”

Muirlands Middle School joins the list of beneficiaries this year, which includes La Jolla, Bird Rock and Torrey Pines elementary schools. Funds raised from LJAWF will be used for art, music, science, physical education and technology programs, as well as onsite medical care at the schools.

Ahern explained that each of the schools gives $30,000 in seed money for the festival, and “LJAWF then takes the money in August, and at the end of October, we pay our bills and give the schools back their $30,000 and whatever extra net profit we’ve made.”

“We would love to make $220,000 this year. $120,000 would pay back the schools’ seed money, the other $100,000 would give each of the four schools $25,000,” Ahern said.

La Jolla Art & Wine Festival

■ When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14

■ Where: Girard Avenue (Prospect-Kline streets)

■ Why: Benefit for La Jolla schools

■ Admission: Free

■ Activities: 150 juried-artists showing and selling their wares, wines and beers to sample, a silent auction, lots of live entertainment, children’s activities that include painting a car, art and dance classes, games, chalk art, crafts, edible art, cartooning and a family scavenger hunt.

■ Website: