Some exciting events are lined up this spring in Carlsbad Village.
I just learned about the inaugural Spring Shop Hop this weekend, April 22, which will highlight the dozens of restaurants and retailers in the village. With the longer, warmer evenings, I’ve been noticing so many great boutiques there. Event participants can pick up business directories at a welcome table at the fountain corner located on State and Grand starting at 4 p.m.; discounts and prize giveaways are “in store” for shoppers.
In early May, some exciting soccer action is coming to the village. The SoCal Surf will play their season home opener against the San Diego Zest May 6 at 6 p.m. at the Army Navy Academy Sports Complex, on 2600 Carlsbad Boulevard. This minor league soccer team is going places — be sure to check out their Carlsbad home games. Maybe grab drinks and dinner in the village before the game starts?
The following day, America’s largest one-day street fair will return to the village. The Carlsbad Village Faire is scheduled for May 7, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; more than 900 vendors will be participating this year, offering a wide variety of food, retail goods and unique business services. There are even children’s games and rides. I’ve had a great time at the Village Faire every time I’ve attended, but plan ahead! Parking and traffic will be tough.
Carlsbad Village is my favorite North County downtown, but it’s not the only one. Vista Village is also making strides in event programming and economic development — I missed a really fun BBQ event last year, and some great storefronts have opened for business recently. Luckily I haven’t missed the San Diego Brewers Guild’s Rhythm & Brews beer festival in Vista Village, scheduled for May 6. General admission is 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
I still need to explore and learn more about the rest of North County’s villages and commercial cores. Escondido and Oceanside have larger, older downtown areas that are following their own strategies for growth and investment. The city of San Marcos has been hard at work creating a downtown area of its own. Who doesn’t like an intimate, small-town feel? Main Street USA is alive and well in North County. Support your local village — there’s lots of good small business owners and fun events planned this year. You’ll be glad you did.
Vince Vasquez is a data analyst based in Torrey Pines. He is a Carlsbad resident.