Escondido, CA

Fun for the family at May 15 Grand Avenue Festival

Last year’s Grand Avenue festival.

Last year’s Grand Avenue festival.

May 15 Grand Avenue Festival and Street Fair from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. will feature lots of family-friendly activities spread along several blocks in Escon­dido’s beautiful downtown area. Some of the things you will find include: • Demonstrations and presentations in the Heritage Garden Park from SDG&E, Horizon Solar Power and Newland Sierra. Grangetto’s will supply plants and Kellogg’s will provide soil for the garden demonstration hosted by celebrity landscaper Ahmed Hassan.

• The block East of Juniper, to Ivy will be filled with activities including a Jumpy House and carnival type games arranged by the Downtown Business Association, which is a co-sponsor of the day’s activities along with the Escondido Chamber of Commerce. • YMCA will be doing ZUMBA demonstrations. • El Caballo youth will demonstrate lasso skills. • And many more family activities!

Major sponsor Chobani will be there with coffee and yogurt.

About 500 vendors are expected to participate and possibly tens of thou­Say sands of visitors on foot. It is truly a pedestrian’s paradise. It’s a day to come out and shop and find some good food and gifts or just chat with your neighbors.

The event is sponsored by the Es­condido Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Downtown Busi­ness Association.

The Times-Advocate will be the Chamber’s premier news partner in this event. “We believe in partnering with businesses or industries that pro­vide quality news,” said Escondido Chamber CEO Rorie Johnston, “and in celebration of your anniversary and the fact that you are now delivering the news on a weekly basis we’d like to be a part of that. What better way than with our most important event?”

The Times-Advocate’s vendor space will be located at the intersection of Grand & Juniper. Stop by and pick up a free paper or sign up for a subscrip­tion.

The street faire is one of the larg­est such events in the state. You could literally spend the entire day walking up and down the 12 city blocks that will be roped off and not see the same thing twice.

Yard Crasher Demo

A new feature of the festival will be the celebrity landscaping event by Ahmed Hassan, the original “Yard Crasher” for HGTV and the DIY net­work has co-hosted and consulted for the Nate Berkus Show and is a regu­lar guest on the CBS Early Show and NBC’s Today Show.

Johnston told The Times-Advocate, “We will be taking over Heritage Gar­den Park for this special event. Ahmed will do two one hour presentations and hands on demonstrations on actu­al plants that are planted at the gazebo park, and after each he will be avail­able for questions and answers and interaction with visitors.” Ahmed will show you how to start your own above ground garden, manage irrigation and maintain a weed free landscape.

Ahmed’s presentations will be at 9 a.m. & 1 p.m.

Johnston added, “We are partner­ing with Grangetto’s Farm & Garden Supply, which is providing all the sup­plies for the day.” That includes soil, amendments, plants etc. She added, “Kevin Grangetto will be setting us up with everything that we need. They were instrumental partners in devel­oping the park and they are advocates for beautifying the city. The Grangetto family has been in business for sixty- four years. They are engaged in the community and interested in beautifi­cation projects.”

Ahmed is a California native who enjoys making outdoor spaces beauti­ful, and spends a considerable amount of time teaching others how to do so. Speaking and showing the tenets of quality landscape on television via landscape construction projects are perhaps the aspects of his career that Ahmed enjoys the most. The ability to teach in an engaging and entertain­ing way is a special quality that makes him one of the most sought after spe­cialists in his field.

More than a celebrity, Ahmed is a 27-year expert, California licensed Landscape Maintenance Technician.

Recently, Ahmed and his team of “Sustainable Heroes” along with 220 volunteers transformed the garden at Interfaith’s Family Housing apart­ments on Aster Street in Escondido. Best described as a “landscaping blitz,” volunteers refurbished play­ground equipment, laid new artificial turf, gravel and mulch, planted hun­dreds of bushes and flowers and built garden boxes where residents can grow their own vegetables.

Johnston noted that the purpose of the Grand Avenue Festival has changed over the years. “When you have an event in a main street it’s to bring people to that part of town,” she said. “That’s a primary focus, but each year we develop it as a celebration, so we add different things for families to do together, Ahmed is an example. There is also an economic impact through the day of event vendors, and the businesses along Grand who will be participating. The long term impact is when people discover a new busi­ness and decide to come back.”

The Grand Ave Festival and Street Fair takes place twice a year on the third Sunday of May and October from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and has been a family tradition since 1989.

Food from around the world and unique gifts will be available from the 500 vendors that line the Escondido historic Grand Avenue from Center City to Juniper. Family entertainment, kid’s rides, Jaycee’s pancake breakfast and a 24-foot climbing wall make for a full day of entertainment and shop­ping. For up-to-date information, visit

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