The Adams Avenue Street Fair attracted thousands of San Diegans to Normal Heights last weekend, bringing a blue-collar bounty of food trucks, brewery-supplied beer gardens, and a ton of local musicians.
The two-day street fair engulfed seven blocks along Adams Avenue and clogged much of the surrounding area with sunburned stroller pushers, beer-garden-dwelling twentysomethings, and even a Michael Jackson impersonator.
The diversity of the crowd was a testament to the rapid growth of the Street Fair over the last couple years, but the 2013 installation seemed by far the most successful. Gone were the swap-meet-grade booths and pseudo-Rastafarian utility shops. An abundance of small businesses — complemented by some not so small ones like Scripps and the U-T — showed that the Street Fair has established itself as a San Diego staple. Here are some high points from the weekend.
The Styletones brought the funk: As we wrote in our preview of the Street Fair, The Styletones recently announced the departure of their guitarist, Deron Grant, due to worsening kidney disease. Still, they put on the most energetic show of the weekend. Frontmaster of funk Stevie Harris didn’t hold back in his vilifying, groovy, all-white outfit. The Styletones closed out the night on Saturday (which sadly but probably sensibly ended at 10 p.m.), and despite the band playing for over an hour, the crowd unquestionably wanted more.
The Creepy Creeps were pleasant as well: The Creepy Creeps were as creepy as ever, adding a little south-of-the-border flavor to their creep wardrobes with some Mexican sombreros to complement their masks and ever-present go-go dancers. The crowd was on the tame side for one of the psychobilly quartet’s shows, but that didn’t matter to those there to get creepy.
Beer gardens were done right: Each of the five beer gardens featured a different California brewery and, for some reason, Sapporo as the discount option. It made for good variety and the rare opportunity to beer-garden hop.
Wild Wild Wets are only getting better: Maybe Wild Wild Wets are just better suited to outdoor acoustics, but their live shows are sounding much crisper these days. Although the crowds hanging out at the Sunday afternoon stages were much more sparse than they were on the previous evening, the San Diego four-piece certainly drew one of the larger audiences of the day, even enticing a couple toddlers to shake it while their mothers kept a close, nervous eye.
Pocket and the WorldBeat Stage got cool all over each other: Pocket are a four-man jazz-funk band with a marimba, so of course they’re cool. The WorldBeat Stage was housed in the very corner of the festival in a gondola at the grassy knoll next to the carnival rides and the “family-friendly stage.” It seemed very few people found their way to it — probably because it was a bit past the area most people wandered by — but the stage housed a few of the more eclectic acts of the weekend, and Pocket was a great change of pace for the otherwise alt-heavy weekend.
Adams Avenue Street Fair is finally solidifying its identity. With this year’s success, it’ll likely continue to grow and attract more and more out-of-town talent.