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The Grand Avenue Festival…Evolution of a Street Faire


In the late 1980’s the City of Escondido wanted to make the “Hidden Valley” not so hidden. So, they came up with an idea to bring more families and more activity to the quaint downtown area. 

This was hoping it would bring more attention and awareness to the picturesque shopping district … although just for one day. That’s when the Escondido Street Faire was born. And what started nearly 30 years ago has grown, with the stewardship of the Escondido Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Association, to become an incredible family and community tradition—known today as the Grand Avenue Festival.

Like many events of this nature the smells of kettle corn and tamales, the laughter of children, music from local bands, and a kaleidoscope of colors emanating from the myriad of arts, crafts, artisanal foods, and games are common. So is people watching – one of the highlights of any street fair in “small town” America is seeing all the people that make up your community. Escondido is no different, as we are small town America, with an eclectic, diverse, and unique population. 

So, as the Grand Avenue Festival has evolved over the years, the people have come and gone and now it’s time to come back again.

That’s why the event’s planning committee is working overtime to make this fall’s Grand Ave Festival and Street Fair (Sunday, October 21) the best event ever! With a new layout design that places all the street vendor booths along the center of Grand Avenue, the storefronts of our vibrant downtown businesses will be easily seen and accessed by attendees. Several other exciting new activities are also being planned.

One new feature event will be “Dogs on The Lawn” at the Chase Bank lawn area at Grand & Orange. This will be an area focusing on our canine friends with representatives from the Palomar Paws program at Palomar Hospital and from the San Diego Humane Society talking about their organizations. In addition there will be a formal meet and greet plus demonstration from the Escondido Police Department’s Canine Unit. On top of that, and sure to be a crowd pleaser, there will be several contests for dogs and their owners to enjoy. There will be prizes awarded for the Best Small Dog Trick, Best Big Dog Trick, Best Dressed Small Dog, Best Dressed Big Dog, and best Pet/Owner Look-A-Like contests!

Another exciting addition will be “Art in the Garden” at Heritage Garden located at Grand and Juniper. This area will be presented by MAGEC (Museums and Arts Growing Escondido Culture), and will be an intimate juried Art show with up to 30 local and regional artists showcasing their talents. Artists such as Virginia Holt (Virginia’s Silk Garden) who explains her Art this way: “Art and color defined itself even more, in the discovery of painting on silk which has opened my heart and passion for color into another brand new dimension.” 

Other artists will include Jeff Peer and his whimsical glass art, along with the photographic imagery of Katherine Zimmer.

Other new activities will include a “Creative Kids Corner” at the Escondido Arts Partnership (Juniper & Grand), “The Caballos” with their horses at Centre City (near Orange), and various prizes from Grand Avenue businesses for anyone who reaches the top of the 24 foot climbing wall (Broadway & Grand.) 

Although many new activities and events are being planned, you’ll still be able to enjoy many of the things you have in the past. Such as coming early to enjoy the Escondido Jaycees Pancake Breakfast or watching all the amazing community music and dancing acts at the Maple Street and Chase lawn stages. Of course, there will be food courts offering just about anything and everything your palate desires, and there will also be specials and unique offerings from our downtown businesses … and you’ll have to keep an eye out just in case a flash mob or two break out into a performance!

So as you plan on what you and your family might enjoy doing on a beautiful Fall Sunday in October, make plans to stroll down Grand Avenue while you enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of your small town America—come enjoy the tradition of the Escondido Grand Avenue Festival!

Escondido Grand Avenue Festival

Sunday, October 21, 2018

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

escondidochamber.org/grand-avenue-festival/

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