By KENDRA SITTON | Downtown & Uptown News
The SDCCU Festival of Arts in North Park is returning each Thursday and Saturday in October as a series of virtual events that support local businesses.
Kicking off the festival this Saturday, a Battle of the Bands will be held on the top of the North Park Parking Garage at 3 p.m. While there will not be an audience at the parking garage, people can attend a viewing at bars such as Working Class, Original 40, Bivouac Ciderworks and True North Tavern. People who vote in the contest are eligible to win prizes.
After the Battle of the Bands, several businesses are hosting virtual events with food and drink tastings as well as demonstrations where people can participate from home. For instance, the store Pigment will be teaching a class on DIY succulent arrangements and Holsem Coffee will teach people how to make a maple pumpkin latte. Other events include a live art and wine tasting with Splash; cider and cheese tasting with Bivouac Ciderworks; and a mezcal tasting with Bar Pink. While the online events will be free, participants can purchase party packs from the businesses with supplies for the class or tasting if they choose.
A DIY Nails demonstration will be led by nail artist Ashley Jansen at Hello Birdie Nail and Lash Salon. Owner Cindy Cate, who is not an expert on nails, will be in the video learning from the expert.
“[Jansen] will be guiding the audience through all the best tips and tricks with nail prep and manicures as well as a variety of nail art styles and skill levels. She’ll be guiding and I’ll basically be there as the example audience, doing it on myself,” Cate said.
The $68 party pack for the Oct. 24 event includes several manicure tools as well as the branded nail polishes Hello Birdie launched during the salon’s closure to stay afloat.
“During the first closure, we built out an e-commerce platform and a website specifically to allow an opportunity for clients to be able to support us and have the products that we already had in-house online. But then we took it a step further and we created our own polish line for the first time,” Cate said.
The polishes are named with bird puns such as “This is Hawkward” and “Chicks and Giggles.” While the nail salon is open now, that could change if the county goes down a tier under the state guidelines.
Cate is hopeful for the exposure provided by the festival but is also taking the opportunity to give back to other new businesses by helping them plan their own virtual events.
“I’m so excited that I can now offer that back to new businesses. I’m just happy to participate and help encourage other businesses to participate because I know ultimately, as busy as we all are, participating is going to help us all,” Cate said.
One of the businesses participating in the festival for the first time is Cori Pastificio Trattoria, an Italian restaurant that opened in December 2019. Owner and chef Accursio Lota is hosting a pasta-making class so participants can have a restaurant-worthy dish at home with their families.
Lota will show the process of making pasta and the secret of his sauce, but to make it easier on participants, most items will be pre-made for those who buy the party pack. After picking up their kit on the day of the event, participants will just need to saute shallots, mushrooms and garlic into the sauce and assemble the dish. The hand-made pasta infused with Italian Black Truffles and sauce base of slow-braised sugo with house-made sausage will be provided. The pack costs $28 per serving for two and there is a vegetarian option. Participants can pick it up ahead of the video release on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m.
“I’m hoping they have a good time and have some quality time away from all the daily stress that we have today at home, with the kids that are in school, with work. Then I would like also to them to have a great meal, which I’m sure they will love it. And then I would like they will learn it and they will make again the similar recipe for their guests,” Lota said.
Since Cori Pastificio was so new when the first closure occurred, they did not have a loyal customer base who followed them and supported them during the shutdown. Lota hopes the event will connect the restaurant to new people and cement its place in the community.
“SDCCU is pleased to be the title sponsor of the San Diego County Credit Union Festival of Arts in North Park,” said SDCCU president and CEO Teresa Campbell. “We are proud to be able to support the virtual event this year as it displays the local creative talent and art that has made North Park so unique and historic in addition to supporting the local businesses.”
To find out more about the festival, visit www.explorenorthpark.com.
— Kendra Sitton can be reached at email@example.com.