Residents reflect on Fiesta del Sol

Some community members are calling for improving the quality of Fiesta del Sol, especially the food offerings and arts and crafts booths.

About 20 people attended a June 30 workshop about the annual two-day event, which is the primary fundraiser for the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce. Members of the public provided feedback about the festival to chamber officials.

Many speakers applauded the involvement of the Belly Up Tavern, which lends its professional talents to produce two days of musical performances. However, several speakers were concerned other elements of Fiesta did not match the quality of the music.

“We’d like to see the event elevated so Fiesta del Sol is not any other street fair,” resident Gerri Retman said. “Right now, you don’t really know you’re in Solana Beach.”

Speakers suggested featuring Solana Beach shops and artists, as well as local restaurants.

They said they’d like to see more artisans and handcrafted items for sale in the booth area, rather than imported goods.

Resident Ruby Edman suggested having a “gourmet alley,” a special area with food from Solana Beach restaurants, similar to a concept she had seen at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Fiesta del Sol, which started out 30 years ago as a small community gathering, has grown to attract more than 40,000 visitors over two days.

One resident said Fiesta was accomplishing its goal.

“We are promoting Solana Beach just by having the event,” Mary Jane Boyd said.

Chamber Vice President Peter Zahn said the chamber welcomes new ideas and community participation in the event. The biggest challenge to implementing changes is getting more volunteers to help, he said.

Chamber officials will review the suggestions and will return with an action plan for next Fiesta at a future City Council meeting, Zahn said.