Rancho Santa Fe Association Buzz: It’s about building community — with a plan

Last weekend was an amazing time to live in Rancho Santa Fe. It was another sunny Saturday morning in the Village as gorgeous, exotic cars assembled for the weekly gathering of the Secret Car Club. The regulars secured their lattes at Positano before heading off to golf, tennis or a ride on the trails. Others enjoyed scones at Thyme in the Ranch or blueberry pancakes at The Inn. When what to our wondering eyes should appear (with apologies to Clement Moore) but a pop-up event in the park!

Thanks to the Association’s vibrant new committee, the Village VIBE, the park was adorned with sun umbrellas, picnic tables for regular and small-sized people, lawn games, food and music! Saturday mornings are always busy for families with children, and so I was thrilled to see all of the families who managed a stop in the park before or after soccer games. It looked like an old-fashioned country picnic with groups playing croquet, bocce, corn-hole toss, ball toss and Giant Jenga — all with no electronic devices in sight. Kids entertained themselves, and bigger kids spontaneously stepped into the role of playing with the littler ones. Many of us sampled the famous shrimp tacos from Frida’s Cocina food truck — and we hope Frida will return one day to RSF. All the while, Andy Mauser played his soulful guitar in the background. It was a magical morning.

Board members and volunteers have been working hard to find ways to restore our Village’s vibrancy since many of you expressed your concerns over the loss of a grocery market, the disappearance of retail shops and the lack of opportunities for community activities in our Village. Revitalization efforts include working with property owners to find incentives that might entice them to house more retail, including a market. We have a team working with the county to examine various zoning structures that would provide for more varied uses in our Village in the long term. Other individuals are researching a variety of parking solutions that will best serve the interests of both residents and retailers.

Our aim is to revitalize the Village so that it provides everything our community wants. The Village VIBE and its group of enormously creative and energetic volunteers are working to design experiences in the Village for our community to enjoy. The VIBE experiences are sort of like laboratory experiments — tests to see what you, your children, your grandchildren might enjoy. As resident and professional planner Stacey Pennington put it, “We are setting the stage in a thoughtful way and hoping that it will happen.”

It? Well, “it” means members of the community coming together. “It” means community gatherings in the Village offering residents something special to enjoy together. “It” may mean games for the kids or music and wine for the adults. We don’t know all the possibilities yet. We are just getting started, and we need your input and participation to help us figure out exactly what “it” is.

Saturday morning’s events were just the start of our great weekend in the Village. On Sunday afternoon, the VIBE was centered on the lawn of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe for a lively Oktoberfest celebration, sponsored by The Inn and the RSF Association. I walked up to The Inn expecting to hear accordions playing polka music, but was surprised and delighted to hear rock music. The party had alternating sets from two bands, The Midnight Pine and Hot Damn Sextet, who played a great mix of rock and soul.

Naturally, Oktoberfest included a Biergarten with an array of beers served by a lederhosen- and dirndl-clad wait staff. Fantastic food choices included the famous Mastiff Sausage Co. food truck, chocolates from It’s Myne, fresh Belgian fries from Belgian Delights and, of course, delicious selections from The Inn’s Morada restaurant. You can count on events at The Inn to include fun activities for children. The VIBE brought in a giant bouncy Bavarian castle and provided wonderful arts activities in the shade. I imagine there were lots of tired kids on Sunday night.

Thanks to the staff at The Inn, the VIBE committee and SLP Urban Planning for a wonderful event. Oktoberfest was a great chance to see old friends and make new friends — a celebration of the season and of our community.

How does an amazing weekend in Rancho Santa Fe end? With a super moon lunar eclipse, of course. I know the blood moon was seen all over the world, but I can’t imagine that this stunning celestial event was on display any more magnificently than it was here, lighting up the dark skies of Rancho Santa Fe. We watched it in awe with our neighbors.

The VIBE can’t promise a lunar eclipse to cap off every event, but this super-charged group has lots of fun in store for us, I promise. Stay tuned for the VIBE, and please stop by when you see activity in the Village. Together, we can create the community that we envision Rancho Santa Fe to be.

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