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‘Taste’ gets thumbs up; farmers market on hold

Bird Rock Community Council members and residents last week critiqued the recent Taste of Bird Rock fest and got an update on a local history project.

They also floated the idea of adding a permanent entry monument and got an update about plans for introducing a community farmers market, which Chairman Joe LaCava said have hit a few bumps in the road.

“The community survey we did was 90-2 in favor of a farmers market,” LaCava said. “But the challenge is where you locate it. We’ve had trouble finding a spot on the boulevard, and there would be a problem with parking if it were to be at Bird Rock Elementary.”

LaCava added that the Methodist Church, which has more parking, might be another possibility.

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The idea is still alive, but can’t progress until the parking issue is overcome.

Overall, residents and merchants agreed that this year’s Taste of Bird Rock community celebration in July was the biggest and best ever. However, along with growth has come growing pains.

“The price of success is we’re kind of at that threshold right now with how big we are,” said LaCava, who said he was told by police foot patrols that there were some minor crowd-control problems, such as a shoplifting incident at Bird Rock Surf Shop, which may require beefed-up security for future events.

“Police officers suggested they were a little bit overwhelmed with how much activity there was,” LaCava said after the BRCC meeting.

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LaCava added there is growing concern that the event is becoming more of a party, when the objective has always been to have it remain a family-friendly local festival.

Taste of Bird Rock Committee chairwoman Felicia Parker said spacing out children’s play areas up and down La Jolla Boulevard, as opposed to concentrating them all in one spot as in the past, improved circulation at the event.

She said community volunteers watched over children in play areas, but added, “We didn’t want to baby-sit kids for families while they were listening to music or whatever.”

Philomene Offen gave an update on her community history project, a series of nearly a dozen “storyboards” detailing different chapters in Bird Rock’s colorful history that were on display at Taste of Bird Rock. She noted, however, that there isn’t a permanent place to display them.

“I can only display them for educational purposes,” she said. “I can’t publish anything, so that pretty much leaves me with thumb boards.”

Noting there isn’t a community bank or a similar public place where the history exhibit can be displayed, she suggested that it might be possible to have the history display exhibited at Bird Rock Elementary School, or perhaps on a rotating basis among various merchants along La Jolla Boulevard.

It was suggested that the community might want to reconsider having some kind of monument sign, or something similar, at each end of the community to give it heightened name recognition.

LaCava said banners have been used effectively to advertise special events, but that putting up permanent signage takes the issue to an altogether different level necessitating greater community input and planning.

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