Taste of Bird Rock

Annual event promotes Opportunity through Community

When organizers Celia Sepulveda, Pamela Garvey and Felicia G. Parker began planning their annual neighborhood event, they started by asking themselves a tough question: “What’s going to be an effective fundraiser but make people feel good in this economy?”

The answer is the seventh annual Taste of Bird Rock. Part community mixer, part benefit, part merchant promotion and a whole bunch of fun, the family-friendly tasting event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. July 16 along La Jolla Boulevard between Midway Street and Camino de la Costa.

“This year, we are celebrating the people that extend themselves to help others despite the tough economic climate,” Parker said via e-mail. “This has helped create a true ‘community’ among the residents and merchants of Bird Rock, hence our slogan for this year is ‘Opportunity through Community.’ ”

While the focus is on food, most of the neighborhood merchants participate in the event, staying open late and enticing visitors with incentives such as discount coupons, gift bags and prize drawings.

Offering a mix of professional services such as attorneys, electricians, massage therapists and hair stylists as well as eateries, boutiques and shops, Bird Rock is often overlooked and underappreciated by outsiders and even some residents unfamiliar with the amenities right outside their own front doors.

“Given the fact that Bird Rock is a community that’s been a little bit sleepy in the past … it’s things like this that draw more attention to us as a community and a viable destination,” said Chuck Patton, owner of Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. “This is an opportunity not only for the restaurants, but for all the merchants and retailers to introduce themselves to 2,000 people.”

Admission to the event entitles the ticket holder to a “taste” at 13 locations along the boulevard. Jones Revival will be providing live music. Organizers have expanded activities for children, bringing in three impressively sized inflatable jumps, street entertainers, arts and crafts, cookie decorating, face painting, carnival games and animals to pet and adopt from a rescue shelter.

In addition to ticket sales, monies are raised through an opportunity drawing, and this year’s raffle is “lavish,” Sepulveda said.

Donated by Mike and Dixie Reynolds of Reynolds Communities, one lucky winner will enjoy a dinner cruise for 10 aboard a 64-foot yacht with dinner and wine by Beaumont’s and dessert and dessert wine provided by Lupi.

“Only 3,000 tickets were printed, so even if we sell out, the odds are great,” Parker said.

Originally created to promote area businesses, Taste of Bird Rock later developed into a fundraiser. Since 2005, approximately $75,000 has been raised to benefit Bird Rock Elementary School. In the past, a quarter of the proceeds were donated to another local school in need, but from this year forward, those funds will go to sister school Cesar Chavez Elementary School.

This year, the addition of more food vendors has allowed organizers to increase ticket sales, but people are encouraged to buy tickets early as the event usually sells out.

“It’s called the Taste of Bird Rock both literally and figuratively,” Sepulveda said. “We want to remind people that merchants are working hard to stay in business and (we) need to support them.”


Buy tickets for Taste of Bird Rock 2009 at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, La Jolla Mailbox and Bird Rock Surf. Prices are $25 for non-BRCC member adults, $20 for BRCC member adults and $15 for children ages 3 to 12.

For more information, visit


The vendors

Taste of Bird Rock ticketholders will have a chance to sample food and drink from 13 neighborhood shops and eateries.

  • Bahia Don Bravo
  • Bird Rock Coffee Roasters
  • Bird Rock Yogurt Shop

-Bird Rock Pizza + Sports Grill

  • Beaumont’s

-Cass Street Cafe

  • Cotton Patch Grill
  • Station Sushi
  • Lupi Vino Cucina
  • La Basil Thai Cuisine
  • Salami Shop
  • Starbucks
  • Marisco’s