2012 Welcomes CityFest by Night, first-ever dance party at dusk
By Lisa Weir |SDUN Contributor
With over a century of history, Hillcrest continues to take strides with monumental accomplishments to be recognized as one of San Diego’s oldest and most accepting communities. In the last year alone, the neighborhood welcomed the addition of Harvey Milk Street after the famously known civil-rights hero, along with the hoisting of a rainbow flag to represent unity and speak to equality in the United States.
It all began in 1940 with a group of female shopkeepers. Suspended above the heart of Hillcrest at the intersection of University and Fifth avenues, these merchants gave to their community the Hillcrest sign, which decades later would come to be a symbol known by all. After many years of life, the condition of the sign began to ware and it took the initiative of community members and business owners to bring life and light back to it.
Contractors proposed offers of their services in the bid war for the sign’s refurbishment. The California Neon Company put up the best bid, and was chosen to rebuild the sign in its entirety for $4,000.
In 1984 through community, activism and dedication, the effort brought on by neighborhood residents to repair the fabulous Hillcrest sign laid the foundation for the spirit of Hillcrest we know today. The sign was re-erected once more on Aug. 18, 1984 and was celebrated two weeks later on Aug. 26, marking the first festivity we now call CityFest.
It was this celebration, 28 years ago, that the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) sponsored the proudly named “Hillcrest Sign Celebration and Street Fair” in honor of the new monument.
Last year, not only did Hillcrest celebrate the 27th annual CityFest, but it also marked the 90th anniversary of the HBA and the celebration of the Hillcrest business community coming to re-vamp the Hillcrest Sign once again. The sign was decided by the HBA’s Beautification Committee, headed by Crest Café owner Cecelia Moreno, and included a transition to LED lighting to save on future repairs of the sign.
In just one year, the community saved approximately 40 percent of energy costs. By year 2022, the HBA and the Hillcrest community will save over $5,000 in maintenance costs.
Since 1984, the HBA has hosted CityFest during August, boasting the most spirited street festival in all of San Diego. Hillcrest locales join neighboring San Diego visitors and beyond to celebrate the sign and welcome the spirit of Hillcrest for a daylong celebration.
But this year the party doesn’t just stop there. Following the day’s events of live music, artisans and crafters, rides and water slides, and our signature beer garden in the urban streets of Hillcrest, we will welcome a new component to the festival: CityFest by Night, starting at 8 p.m.
A spectacular evening-inspired event will commence for the kickoff of our first-ever dance party at dusk. Beautiful lights and people from all around will dance under the luminous Hillcrest sign to the sounds of Hillcrest’s best known DJs.
The HBA would like to thank its Board of Directors for their commitment to the business district, HillQuest and the Hillcrest History Guild for providing the lush history made available for this article, and the CityFest sponsors that allow this festival to thrive: Scripps, Miller-Coors, Nika Water, Stoli, The Commission for Arts and Culture, Starbucks Via, Huawei, Comerica Bank, California Fruit Wine, Gay San Diego, The City of San Diego, San Diego CityBeat, SDGLN.com, SDPix and San Diego Uptown News.
For more information on CityFest please visit the official event web site at HillcrestCityFest.com and like us on Facebook.com/CityFest. For more information on the HBA please visit HillcrestBIA.org.
—Lisa Weir is the Marketing and Communications Director of the Hillcrest Business Association. Contact her at 619-299-3330 or lisa@HillcrestBIA.org.
Arts and Crafts Village
CityFest offers one of the largest arts and crafts areas of any comparable street fair. With more than 250 vendors, CityFest is the place to find one-of-a-kind specialty items and gifts. Booths lining Fifth Avenue (from University to Pennsylvania avenues) will offer plenty to peruse and buy. The Arts and Crafts Village will be open from noon to 7 p.m.
The Grand Stage is located at the heart of Hillcrest, below the Hillcrest sign at Fifth and University avenues. Located at the junction of the Arts and Crafts Village and the Beer Garden, the Grand Stage will host multiple local and regional musical acts throughout CityFest.
Grand Stage line up
12 – 12:40 p.m. Run Honey
1 – 1:40 p.m. Bitter Sober
2 – 2:40 p.m. The Young Rapscallions
3 – 3:40 p.m. The Black Sands
4 – 4:40 p.m. Mimi Zulu and The Revenge
5 – 5:40 p.m. Mad Traffic
6 – 6:40 p.m. Hott thing
CityFest at Night line up
7:30 – 8:30 p.m. DJ Will Z
8:30 – 9:30 p.m. DJ John Joseph
9:30 – 10:30 p.m. DJ Dirty Kurty
Gigantic Food Court
Boasting more than 70 food vendors, the food court will offer plenty of variety for hungry CityFest attendees. Food vendors can be found in our food courts along Robinson Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue and on Fifth Avenue between Pennsylvania and Brooks avenues.
Beer and Drink Garden
A block of University Avenue will be dedicated to the over-21 beer garden that will feature drink stations, drag queens in the dunk tank – proceeds benefitting Mama’s Kitchen – and a great view of the Grand Stage. While in the beer garden, enjoy refreshments from Miller-Coors and Stoli.
SDPix Waterslide and Splash Zone
SDPix.com, one of the most connected and prominent sources of information for the San Diego LGBT community, is hosting the CityFest Water Slide at the intersection of Pennsylvania and Fifth avenues. With DJs to amp up the excitement, the SDPix Splash Zone in front of Babycakes (3766 Fifth Ave.) will allow you to cool down alongside the hottest nightlife photography group in the community.
Dunk a Drag Queen
Yet again you have the opportunity to benefit Mama’s Kitchen by dunking a drag queen and other prominent members of the community. As a volunteer-driven, non-profit organization, Mama’s Kitchen prepares and delivers food to men, women, and children who are affected by AIDS or other critical illnesses. Show your support for the cause by visiting the Beer Garden and taking your best shot to dunk a drag queen.
Off-site Parking and Shuttles
Thousands of people show up in Hillcrest for CityFest every year. To ease parking in the Hillcrest area, CityFest has set up a satellite parking area at the San Diego Unified School District located at 4100 Normal St. in University Heights. The shuttle will run from the large parking lot to Sixth Avenue by Rite-Aid until 9 p.m.