Downtown Merchants Plot 

A Wine, Art Fest

LA MESA -- The Downtown Village Merchants Association held its regular meeting Thursday evening and heard updates on looming events and discussed plans to add a new major one to the village's annual events calendar.

Even as final details are being ironed out for the annual Oktoberfest, Shannon O'Dunn and her cross La Mesa Boulevard street neighbors at the San Pasqual Winery tasting room were talking up plans for a new Wine and Art Festival.

O'Dunn said the steering committee for what could be a two day event on the 19th and 20th of May are hoping to develop a high quality juried art show that would combine with wine tastings held in retail businesses along La Mesa Boulevard. A jury of critics, she said, are the only way to protect the event from being overrun with "crappy abstract acrylics,'' a goal that everyone in the room seemed to support.

Richard Felix, the traditional organizer of the Oktoberfest event, said that all the food spots were sold out for the Sept. 30, Oct. 1 and 2 event, which will include some new gourmet food trucks in the mix. He said non-food vendor spots were still available.

There is the usual pressure on Felix to deliver a crowd and profits for the Oktoberfest. Final plans for December's popular Christmas in the Village event are awaiting some estimate of the Oktoberfest profits. Traditionally, profits made at Oktoberfest help fund the Christmas in the Village and the summer Thursday night car shows, which draw crowds but don't generate the kind of profits the beer and brats crowd lend to Oktoberfest.

There is some added pressure on those profits this year as the city is requiring organizers to pay 100 percent of the cost of police and fire protection for the three day event. Until this year, the city had essentially subsized Oktoberfest by paying for part of the extra police and fire assistance needed for the heavily attended event.

"When we see how much money we have, we'll decide on how we fund Christmas in the Village,'' said banker John Vigil, who heads that event. "I've done it in tough years with $6,000 and I've done it with $30,000. I'm hoping it's a good year.''

Bring on the beer and brats!


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Tags: Christmas in the Village, Downtown Village Merchants Association, La Mesa Boulevard, Oktoberfest, Richard Felix, San Pasqual Winery, Shannon O'Dunn, Wine and Art Festival


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Comment by hazel ross on September 18, 2011 at 7:39am

I don't entirely agree with Ms O'Dunn singling out acrylic abstracts as a category of "crappy art"! "Crappy art" (I really do not care for her choice of word) exists in all categories of art. However I am sure that if a knowledgeable "jury of critics" can be assembled, then a true cross section of excellent art created by contemporary artists will be shown.

Hazel Ross


Foothills Art Association

La Mesa

Comment by Heather on September 16, 2011 at 10:39am
John Vigil's comment on the Christmas in the Village expenses is completely understated. I assisted with the accounting records for 5 years and the expenses were significantly  higher then 6,000. As a member merchant I expect our board of directors to be precise with these types of statements. It gives a very false impression to the merchants on this blvd.

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