By MIKE NICHOLS
Mayor, Solana Beach
Summer has officially arrived, and there's no better place to be than our wonderful community of Solana Beach. This year, more than ever before, the best summer vacation may just be staying home and checking out all the summer activities and special events planned right here in our own backyard.
Start your kid's summer off by enrolling them into one of the city's Summer Day Camp or Junior Lifeguard programs. The camps are offered in seven weekly sessions from June 22 to Aug. 14, and involve planned daily activities, field trips, hands-on learning and themed projects. The Junior Lifeguards is a popular youth program that builds self-esteem, teaches lifesaving skills, encourages physical fitness and develops respect and appreciation of the ocean environment. The two remaining sessions start July 13 and Aug. 10. Both programs offer a limited number of scholarships for Solana Beach children with financial need.
For a free evening of entertainment, bring the entire family to Fletcher Cove Park on Thursdays to enjoy a beautiful sunset and an outdoor concert. The crowds gather early to enjoy the park and socialize before the extremely popular Concerts at the Cove series. The concerts begin at 6 p.m. and run every week through Aug. 20.
This summer also brings back several annual special events for our community, starting with the "Arts Alive" banner auction from 6 to 9 p.m. July 15. This year's event showcases 60 local artists with a thoughtful environmental theme, "Our Earth - Our Chance." Come support the Public Arts Advisory Commission and enjoy an entertaining evening viewing and bidding on the artistic banners. The "Arts Alive" event is held on North Cedros Avenue, across from the train station.
Aug. 1 is the "Family Campout" event at La Colonia Park, where families can set up camp and spend a summer evening under the stars. Activities include a traditional campfire program with a storyteller, live music and s'mores. Dinner is provided by the local Boy Scouts, and a pancake breakfast is cooked the next morning by our city's Fire Department. The fun starts at 5 p.m. and ends Sunday at 9 a.m. after breakfast.
Finally, on Aug. 22, come celebrate one of the biggest events of the summer, the Fifth Annual Beach Blanket Movie Night at Fletcher Cove. This free event is an end-of-summer ritual for our community and celebrates our beach-town character by showcasing outdoor surf movies and promoting environmental awareness. The day begins with the Second Annual "GROM-O-RAMA," a fun-filled surfing event for kids that starts at 7:30 a.m. The movie activities begin at sundown, which include a raffle to help support the Parks and Recreation Commission.
For more information on any of these summertime activities, please visit the city's Web site at