In 1940 World War II was underway, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, and the small community of Hillcrest hoisted its neon sign over the town’s main intersection for the first time.
But as decades passed, the sign became worn and eventually went dark. In 1983 it was taken down — but not for long. Volunteers raised $4,000 for its restoration and a year later the sign was returned to its rightful spot over University Avenue at Fifth Avenue. On Aug. 26, 1984, the sign was officially relighted, and the gathered crowd went wild, cheering and tooting toy horns for almost an hour.
That was the unofficial start of CityFest, Hillcrest’s community celebration of music, art and community spirit, which has taken place every year since. On Aug. 9 the sign will again be symbolicaly “relighted” for the 25th time. But not before thousands converge on Hillcrest for a day full of dancing, face-painting, lantern-making and general merrymaking.
What: The 26th annual Hillcrest street fair under the Hillcrest sign. CityFest celebrates our community spirit with music, arts and crafts, a celebratory lantern parade and the rededication of the neighborhood sign.
Who: The neighborhood of Hillcrest.
Where: Fifth Avenue and University Avenue.
When: Sunday August 9, from noon until 10 p.m.
Lantern parade at 8:30 p.m., starting at Fifth Avenue and Robinson Avenue.
Rededication of the neighborhood sign will take place at 9:30 p.m.
Why: To celebrate neighborhood spirit.
Join more than 150,000 people beneath the Hillcrest sign at the largest neighborhood street fair of its kind. CityFest 2009 is a celebration of art, music, food and spirit in San Diego’s premiere urban neighborhood.
New for 2009! CityFest will feature a Grand Stage beneath the Hillcrest sign, a massive open air beer garden on University Avenue, a kids’ carnival, mechanical bull rides, a dunk tank, a pool party, a celebratory lantern parade at dusk, and a “relighting” of the neighborhood sign.
CityFest 2009 Details:
Arts and Crafts Village
CityFest has one of the largest crafters’ areas of any similar street fair. With more than 250 vendors, CityFest is the perfect place to get that one-of-a-kind specialty item that you’ve been looking for. The Arts and Crafts Village will be open from noon through 8:30 p.m. on Fifth Avenue, between Washington Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
The Grand Stage is located at the heart of Hillcrest in front of the neighborhood sign. It is visible from University Avenue, Fifth Avenue and the “Spirits Beer Garden.” The Grand Stage will feature 10 hours of local and regional entertainment. The current lineup for the Grand Stage includes:
Band Set Time Details
Knives! 12:00 – 12:30 p.m. Big Beat, Thrash and Crunk
China Clippers 12:45 – 1:15 p.m. Rock, Blues and Soul
Royal Campaign 1:30 – 2:00 p.m. Rock
F.U.Z.Z. 2:15 – 3:00 p.m. Rock, Punk and Metal from Guadalajara
Team Abraham 3:15 – 4:15 p.m. Pop, from the South Bay
Run Honey 4:35 – 5:35 p.m. All-girl Rock and Alternative
Pauhana 5:55 – 6:55 p.m. Roots music, Hawaiian and Reggae
Tighten Ups 7:15 – 8:15 p.m. Rock, Blues and Soul
UBUV 8:30 – 9:30 p.m. Electronica, Breakbeat and psychedelic
Local favorite Laura Jane will MC
Gigantic Food Court
CityFest’s gigantic food court will bring together flavors from across the city and the world! With more than 30 food vendors at the event, attendees may satisfy whatever taste they have.
Spirits Beer Garden ~ NEW FOR 2009!
An entire block of University Avenue will be an over-21 area that will feature drink stations, drag queens in the dunk tank (benefiting Mama’s Kitchen), interactive entertainment and a view of the Grand Stage. Sit and enjoy Blue Moon Beer, a margarita, or one of our many Redbull recipes while listening to hours of terrific performers on the Grand Stage.
Lantern Parade ~ NEW FOR 2009!
Everyone is welcome to participate in the CityFest Lantern Parade. Make a lantern at the CityFest Pavilion, or bring one for this participatory and fun event. The Parade will start at 8:30 p.m. at Fifth Avenue and Robinson Avenue. The parade will be led by a gigantic stilt walker –“The Spirit of Hillcrest” — who will guide participants through the festival to the Grand Stage under the Hillcrest sign. Free lantern-making classes will be held all day at the CityFest Pavilion (while supplies last).
Lighting of the Historic Hillcrest Sign ~ NEW FOR 2009!
The lighting of the historic Hillcrest sign will be the culmination of the entire event. At about 9:30 p.m. MC Laura Jane will lead the crowd in a dramatic countdown to the relighting of the famous Hillcrest sign. Expect to see some fireworks as the neighborhood celebrates the lighting of its spirit and sign.
City Fest 2009 DJ Lineup ~ NEW FOR 2009!
CityFest 2009 will feature DJs spinning tunes throughout the day and into the twilight. The DJ will be located at the heart of the festival, at Robinson Avenue and Fifth Avenue. The DJ lineup includes Mike Mae, Saimoon, The Pied Piper, Monchis, Shugar and Mix Architekt.
SDPIX Pool Party ~ NEW FOR 2009!
Right in front of Babycakes at 3766 Fifth Avenue, SDPIX will be hosting a pool party! With over 13,000 subscribers via email and 100,000 + viewers monthly, SDPIX.COM is the most connected and most prominent source for the San Diego LGBT Community. Cool down with the hottest night life photography group in the community!
Mechanical Bull Rides – to Benefit the Gay Rodeo ~ NEW FOR 2009!
The wild ride to the rodeo has begun, and there will be a mechanical bull located in the California Bank & Trust parking lot on Fifth Avenue near Pennsylvania Avenue. Let out your inner cowgirl or cowboy and take a ride on “Studley Hungwell” to benefit the Golden State Gay Rodeo Association, whose charity efforts fundraise for one of the best gay rodeos in the country.
Dunk a Drag Queen ~ NEW FOR 2009!
This year there will be a dunk tank to benefit Mama’s Kitchen! As a volunteer-driven, not-for-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 this great cause by visiting the brand new Spirits Garden and taking a shot at a drag queen at the dunk tank!
Off-site Parking and Shuttles ~ NEW FOR 2009!
Thousands of people are expected at CityFest 2009. CityFest has set up a satellite parking area at the San Diego Unified School District property at 4100 Normal Street in University Heights. Shuttles will be running all day from this large parking lot. Shuttles will begin at noon and run through 9:30 p.m., and will stop at the CityFest Pavilion at Fifth Avenue and Robinson Avenue.