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For the past thirty years the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce has put on an event that has come to be a staple of the city, community and enthusiasts alike. The Carlsbad Village Faire can now claim the title of the largest single-day street fair in the nation, and with the wide variety of shopping and activities, there’s plenty of reasons why. Drawing as many as 100,000 attendees to over 900 booths, the faire is an event that lives up to its title. Whether you attend every single year, or haven’t been recently, one thing is certain: Sunday, May 4 will be a day that all Carlsbad residents will be proud of. Ted Owen, President and CEO of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, shares some of the history of the event and what attendees can expect this year.

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For the benefit of those who may have never attended, can you describe the bi-annual Carlsbad Village Faire?

With more than 900 vendors, the Carlsbad Vilage Faire is the largest one-day street fair of its kind in the United States. Held the first Sundays of May and November each year, this is the forty-first year of the tradition that draws more than 100,000 people.

The fair has grown to be so popular, that it not only continually attracts people from all over Southern California, but also from other states. Some visitors even plan their vacations around the bi-annual event.
The reason so many people return to the fair every year is that they can count on finding quality items to purchase because of the wide variety of vendors. You name it and it’s for sale at the fair.

When and how did the bi-annual event begin?Faire03

The reason that the Carlsbad Village Faire was created was to bring attention to downtown Carlsbad. Back in 1984, the Chamber organized the Carlsbad Village Faire to showcase the Village of Carlsbad and all of the businesses that call it home.

The plan worked beyond the Chamber’s expectations, and it has grown into this great event whose tradition the Chamber is proud to continue.

How is the faire planned and managed each year?

Kennedy & Associates operates the Carlsbad Village Faire for the Chamber. The effort is headed by Brian Roth, who is continuing a tradition that started with his father-in-law, Keith Kennedy, who, along with the late Buddy Storm, promoted the fair and grew it into the best street fair in the country.

How large is the event in terms of attendance, activities, booths, and revenue?

We have more than 900 vendor booths at the event, which makes it the largest one-day street fair in the country. Our figures suggest that in good years, more than 100,000 people visit the fair during the day.

What are some of the most popular activities/vendors each year?

It all depends on what people are looking for. That’s the beauty of the Carlsbad Village Faire. If it’s legal and if it’s made, you can almost always find what you’re looking for.

What is new this year at the faire?

Some of the new products that vendors are offering at the Carlsbad Village Faire this year include wagons for children with custom suspensions and accessories, carved soap flowers, patio swings, personalized stainless steel rings and wooden neck ties, bowties and bolo ties.

Where and when is this event held?

The Carlsbad Village Faire is held the first Sundays of May and November every year. The next event takes place in the Village of Carlsbad on Grand Ave. from Carlsbad Blvd. to Jefferson St. on May 4 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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What can attendees expect in terms of entertainment at this year’s event?

The Rotary Club of Carlsbad’s beer and wine garden will entertain fairgoers with a large screen TV and live bands. The Kiwanis Club of Carlsbad will continue its more than twenty-five-year tradition of hosting a pancake breakfast at the Carlsbad railroad depot. The meal, which includes pancakes, sausage, coffee and juice, will be served between 7 a.m. and noon.

What can attendees expect in terms of food and refreshments at this year’s event?

The international food court will once again feature more than fifty booths serving everything from Thai to Hawaiian cuisine. There is also a beer garden and many booths with delicious snacks scattered throughout the fair, so bring your appetite.

What types of activities are planned for children this year?

The children’s area will entertain youngsters with games, a super slide, a bounce house, a rock climbing wall, face painting, and arts and crafts.

Faire06Where should attendees plan to park for the faire?

Due to limited parking and street closures (Grand Ave. from Carlsbad Blvd. to Jefferson St. and all of the cross streets in between will be closed for the event) we recommend that people use public transportation. The Sprinter can drop you off right at the heart of the fair. We also have complimentary shuttles that will run to and from the fair. Shuttles will pick up and drop off passengers at the Poinsettia Coaster Station and the northwest corner of Sears at Westfield Plaza Camino Real.

Why should local residents attend and support the event this year?

Despite its size, the Carlsbad Village Faire is still a local event. Many local businesses take part in it, so you can shop and feel rest assured that your dollars stay and are invested locally. In addition, the Carlsbad Village Faire is a great way to get to know the businesses that are located in Carlsbad Village. Many have booths in front of their stores. The great thing about them is that they’ll always be there after the fair is over.

Meet Ted Owen

Name: Ted Owen
Organization: Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce
Education: MBA National University, San Diego, CA; BA, Social Science, Chapman University, Orange, CA; AS, Journalism, Vincennes University, Vincennes, Ind.
Family: Wife – Kathy
Hobbies and Interests: Owen, a twenty-two-year combat veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, joined the Chamber as president and CEO in 2004. Before taking the helm of the chamber, Owen twice served as the president and publisher of the San Diego Business Journal.
Favorite Activity at the Carlsbad Village Faire: I like to walk the aisles and see what all the vendors are offering. I’m always amazed by what I find.

 

At-A-Glance

Event Name: Carlsbad Village Faire
Head Organizer: Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce
Location: The Village of Carlsbad – Carlsbad Village, Carlsbad (Grand Ave. from Carlsbad Blvd. to Jefferson St.)
Date/Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 4
Website: www.carlsbad.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/carlsbadchamber
Phone Number: 760-931-8400
Cost: Free

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