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‘Rock’ festival: Community hosts seventh annual ‘Taste’ event

Bird Rock’s seventh annual Taste of Bird Rock community summer fest was a real feast for the couple thousand people who turned out for food, fun and sun on July 16 along La Jolla Boulevard.

“This event gets bigger ever year and somebody new joins it and adds to it: It keeps spiraling,” event organizer Pamela Garvey said.

“It’s always perfect,” said taste committee volunteer Lindsay Arellano of the weather for the event, which was postcard-perfect.

Arellano added that Taste of Bird Rock takes four to six months to plan. “The biggest part is getting sponsors for the event, which benefits Bird Rock Elementary,” she said.

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The boulevard rocked with live music supplied by four bands. Bubble machines were busy effervescing. Merchants dispensed everything from shaved ice and Mardi Gras beads to battery-operated, hand-held helicopterlike “spinnys.”

Children, such as 6-year-old first-grader Lily Sauer at Bird Rock Elementary School, took full advantage of one of the two “jumpy slides,” going down repeatedly - sometimes head-first. “It’s kind of scary,” admitted Sauer, who added, “This is my favorite thing.”

Eating was the favorite thing of new Bird Rock residents Robin and Daniel Gordon, who were present with their poodle, Nori. “One of the things we like about La Jolla is that it’s dog-friendly,” said Robin Gordon, munching on food provided by the French Gourmet.

One of the many attractions along the boulevard was children’s face painting furnished by Fun-B the Clown, who was transforming 7-year-old Megan Witt’s face into a tiger. Asked if she had as much fun as her subjects, Fun-B replied, “I have more.” She said it takes two to three minutes to paint a face. “Kitties, princesses and pirates are their favorites,” she added.

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Guests at the seventh annual Taste of Bird Rock were also able to stroll down memory lane courtesy of a history project undertaken by Philomene Offen, which is unraveling the community’s colorful history with some surprising results, such as the fact that most of its first residents in the ‘20s were poor Japanese truck farmers and that the nation’s first wartime submarine casualty occurred just off the coast of Bird Rock in 1917. Offen’s work was exhibited via newspaper copy pasted on posterboards at the Masonic Lodge.

One of the subjects of Offen’s work, USAF (Ret.) Col. Robert Barrett, turned out to admire her work.

“He was the first paperboy in 1926 at the age of 5,” said Offen of Barrett. “He and his mom, they delivered to six morning and five evening San Diego Union customers.”

“This was all prairie when I grew up,” Barrett said. “This was all farming country, Japanese truck gardens that grew tomatoes, corn and beans. There were only 13 houses in Bird Rock starting at Turqouise Street. I built a home when there were only three or four homes on La Jolla Boulevard.”

Joe LaCava, Bird Rock Community Council president, said this year’s event “literally was the best one we’ve ever put on.”

LaCava said spacing out children’s activities helped in getting people circulating. He said merchants were able to do outreach, and that it really has become an event with mass appeal. “I think a more aggressive effort on the alcohol ban (on streets) was a good thing and made it much more family-friendly,” he said. “It was half kids, half adults: something for everybody.”

Juvenile arrested during ‘Taste,’ charged in sunglasses theft

A juvenile who allegedly attempted to steal a pair of sunglasses from Bird Rock Surf Shop at 5605 La Jolla Blvd. on July 16 was arrested and charged with petty theft and other crimes after a scuffle with police.

“An employee witnessed a juvenile attempting to steal a $95 pair of Hoven sunglasses from Bird Rock Surf Shop at 7:07 p.m. on the 16th,” said San Diego Police Department Spokesman Gary Hassan. “The owner of the store tried to affect a citizen’s arrest and chased him down.”

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Hassen said police were called to the scene. “Officers went in after him and grounded him,” he said. “The juvenile struck the officer in the face with his elbow. He was taken to juvenile hall.”

The blow reportedly bloodied the officer’s nose. The youth was also observed being taken down by police by guests at Bird Rock’s annual Taste of Bird Rock summer community celebration which was going on at the time of the incident.

Hassan said the youth was charged with shoplifting, a misdemeanor for property stolen less than $400 in value, as well as with battery and resisting arrest.