Taste of Bird Rock: A step back will lead to a future

By Joe Parker

President, Bird Rock Community Council

The news about Taste of Bird Rock’s untimely death may have been greatly exaggerated. However, there is some truth to every rumor.

Two weeks ago, we announced at a community meeting that the Bird Rock Community Council (“BRCC”) is considering suspending the event or changing its scale. It was a tough announcement to make, but we felt it was important for the community to have the benefit of our thinking early on in the game.

TOBR has been the community’s core event for many years. It was originally conceived to bring residents and merchants together in an effort to support local business. It’s also become a major fundraiser for Bird Rock Elementary and a sister school in need. Last year, BRE and Chavez Elementary in Chula Vista received donations of approximately $25,000 and $9,000, respectively.

The need to revisit the scale of the event is due to a perfect storm of factors that challenge the ability to duplicate the success we’ve had in recent years. We are not giving up. However, we are stepping back to evaluate the event going forward as it is important to resolve some of the hurdles we face.

The city has raised significant concerns about security, crowd control, alcohol violations by attendees and merchants, and the larger problem of balancing pedestrian safety with the complications of a major street closure. The message was pretty clear — either we make substantial and costly changes to address these issues or we won’t get our permit. Even worse, if we don’t act now, we could lose the opportunity to make these changes as the city could cancel the event altogether.

These challenges are not unique nor are they impossible to overcome, but we need help. For months now we’ve been asking for new volunteers to take on the heady task of organizing the event. So far we have no takers.

Seasoned organizers are the cornerstone of TOBR. We’ve been very fortunate to have a crew of talented and capable organizers who individually and collectively bring many indispensable resources to the table. Every year, these people pour their hearts and souls into the event, taking careful measure of what is required, and visiting and re-visiting every detail in an effort to maximize the fun for the attendees and the funds raised for the schools. We are truly grateful for their pledge of community service and the amazing success and good they have brought to this event.

We don’t have the benefit of these seasoned starters this year, and certainly the challenges outlined by the city require a similar lineup. This could be our greatest challenge. Nevertheless, out of adversity comes ingenuity. So make no mistake about it — the BRCC is committed to saving TOBR, even if it sits out a year or comes back in a different form.