Street fair retains focus on community building
By Anthony King | SDUN Editor
This year marks the 28th annual CityFest event, the Hillcrest community street fair that began as a celebration of local businesses gathering under the iconic Hillcrest sign at Fifth and University avenues. Last year, the event centered on the sign’s re-lighting, while this year marks the addition of a nighttime “dance party” event.
CityFest takes place along Fifth Avenue between University and Brookes avenues on Aug. 12. From noon – 10:30 p.m., the fair features over 250 food and craft vendors, live music, a beer garden and activities for both adults and children.
The new, evening portion of the festival, called CityFest by Night, starts at approximately 8 p.m.
“That’s really what we’re excited bout for this year,” said Lisa Weir, Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) marketing and communications director. “We’ve seen the success of Mardi Gras and we saw the wildly successful … Block Party crowds, and how much they seemed to love DJs, dancing and being on the streets of Hillcrest. We really wanted to try that on for CityFest.”
The HBA organizes and produces the annual event, using it as both a way to bring people to the Uptown neighborhood as well as a fundraiser. Over 150,000 people are expected to attend.
“One of the important pieces of feedback that I get from people that attend the event is how much they really appreciate the variety and the unexpected merchandise that is available,” Weir said, calling the vendors the “heart of the festival.”
Scripps will be joining the vendor list this year, with a Health and Wellness Station in the festival’s center. They have also joined as an official sponsor, as has Starbucks Coffee Company.
Saying the HBA was excited to welcome them both to the festival, Weir acknowledged the dual role of supporting locally owned businesses as well as larger corporations. At CityFest, the HBA is able to do both.
“There’s a delicate balance between how we facilitate and support a … small-business owner versus a corporation who comes in and opens a business in Hillcrest,” Weir said. “It is our job to support both of those businesses and recognize that the reciprocity of success in the neighborhood is [mutual].”
The reciprocity goes beyond business, as this year sees the third year of the “Dunk a Drag Queen” tank, located in the beer garden. Matt Ramon of Mo’s Universe organizes the dunk tank, which serves as a fundraiser for the nonprofit Mama’s Kitchen. Weir said in the last three years of having the fundraiser, over $7,500 has been raised.
“CityFest is really a platform for community groups to get involved,” HBA Executive Director Benjamin Nicholls said. “Any community group, whether they’re in Hillcrest or not – but are part of this community – can find a way to come in and be involved.”
For complete information on this year’s CityFest, see our insert or visit hillcrestcityfest.com. Additionally, the HBA can be reached at 619-299-3330 or hillcrestbia.org.