EDITOR’S NOTE: This event has been postponed due to coronavirus pandemic.
CARLSBAD — When Rochelle McLean opened Babies in Bloom in Vista more than a dozen years ago, she knew she wanted to build a community that would become vital for San Diego County parents.
Today, McLean is continuing to fulfill her mission with the annual BabyFest, a spring event that brings together hundreds of parents and kid-focused businesses and services under one roof. BabyFest, which will take place Saturday, March 22 at the Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa, will give attendees the opportunity to explore products from more than 50 vendors. They’ll also be able to take a variety of workshops geared toward parents.
“At our very core, Babies in Bloom has always been about community,” said McLean, who has lived in North County since 2000. “When we opened our first boutique in 2007, we began to hold yearly baby fairs to share resources with new and expectant families. It grew and grew each year until we finally rented a large convention center, added speakers and classes and held our first BabyFest in 2013.”
Attendees of the eighth annual event can expect vendors Bugaboo, Baby Bum, Noonan Family Swim School, San Diego Birth Network and Doodlebug Designs. Lawyers, photographers, dentists and other professionals geared toward families will also be on-hand.
McLean said BabyFest is an event unlike any other in San Diego County because it brings together the vibrant community that’s geared toward parents and their children.
“San Diego is rich with products and services for new and expecting parents,” McLean said. “BabyFest allows parents to take free classes, hear amazing speakers, and meet several professionals to help support them along their parenting journey. It also brings like-minded families together. We have heard of several parents meeting others there and striking up long-lasting friendships.”
In years past, the event has attracted hundreds of parents who are thankful to have all the local businesses and services under one roof, said McLean, who is a mother herself.
“We would not continue to host this event each year unless parents and exhibitors were happy with the event,” McLean said. “Our goal is always to make this event the type of expo that we would want to attend. We hope that people leave BabyFest feeling more comfortable and prepared for the next step. I always tell the families that I hope they leave with more confidence then they had when they arrived.
For Katie Prochaska, who works with McLean at Babies in Bloom, BabyFest is unique because its an event specifically geared toward San Diego families.
“BabyFest is unique from other baby or pregnancy expos because we are a local event coordinated by local moms, for local families,” Prochaska said. “Not only can we bring you products that we really use that really work, but we know which local brands and services to bring out for new moms and young families. Our focus is strictly on how we can best serve our local community.”
Prochaska, who joined Babies in Bloom as an employee after discovering it as a customer, said the event also caters to anyone on the parenthood journey.
“If you are pregnant, have babies, have friends with babies, or you want babies, you don’t want to miss BabyFest,” said Prochaska, who works as a child passenger safety technician. “It’s a great event and so much fun every year.”
Admission for the eighth annual BabyFest is $10 per person. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 22 at Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa at 5480 Grand Pacific Drive.
For more information or to purchase tickets, go to babies-in-bloom.com/babyfest.
Hoa Quach has 15 years of experience in journalism, garnering multiple awards ranging from investigative reporting to feature writing. She’s been named a “Woman Who Means Business” by the San Diego Business Journal, featured in BuzzFeed during International Women’s Day and recognized by the California Legislature for her work. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.