By Keri Ann Yednak
Tucked away just east of such renowned attractions as the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park is a quaint, culturally diverse community consisting of charming bungalows and locally-owned shops and eateries. South Park’s unique characteristics allow visitors to revert to a simple time in history, before tacky strip malls and corporate chains.
In retrospect, South Park has undergone a phenomenal transformation from the less than stellar reputation it held in the late 1980s. Eleven years ago, a group of community members set out to “re-brand” the neighborhood, and the Old House Fair was born.
Recognizing the historical value found in the South Park area, the Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) stepped in as sponsor to raise funds and awareness about the art of restoring the classic designs of old homes. Craftsmen began to revamp the disheveled homes inside and out, while preserving the original details that made them so exceptional when they were created almost a century ago.
Maureen Ceccarelli, this year’s Old House Fair coordinator, has witnessed South Park’s tremendous conversion over the past 22 years from her storefront windows of Studio Maureen and its counterpart, the Next Door Gallery. Ceccarelli’s continued involvement with the fair has helped fellow business owners and private citizens unite in order to celebrate the community’s ongoing progress.
This year Maureen and other members of the South Park Business Group have yet again organized a day jam-packed with arts and crafts, live music, delicious food, and walking or trolley tours. Often the highlight of the Old House Fair, the Historic Homes Tour will give architecture and history buffs alike an in-depth look at five beautifully restored homes in the area for only $15. After working up a thirst cruising the neighborhood, make sure to stop by Hamilton’s for a free tasting of their award-winning ale.
Contractors and design consultants will be offering advice to homeowners at an “Ask the Experts” booth. Why sell your home in a down market when you can upgrade your current home’s windows, hardware, furniture and landscaping for a finished product that’s good as new?
Speaking of new in the world of old homes, these professionals will feature “green” building supplies and eco-friendly equipment at exhibit booths. Learn how to conserve energy and water when we need it most, as well as how to incorporate modern features while complementing the design of historic architecture.
The Old House Fair is not only “where to go if your contractor’s been dead for 75 years,” as the Web site says, but also the best place around for homeowners to gather inspired ideas for creating the home and garden masterpiece of their dreams.
The 11th annual Old House Fair will be held Saturday June 20th 2009 from 10am-2pm in the neighborhood of 30th Avenue & Beech Street in beautiful downtown South Park. For more information, go to www.OldHouseFair.com