By Claire Harlin
Seven free parking lots, a double-decker shuttle bus and inexpensive pedi-cabs are just a few measures added to Fiesta Del Sol to make the 2012 celebration more accommodating than ever, organizers say.
With more than 50,000 festival-goers expected to attend, organizers at the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce put their heads together this year to find ways to mitigate parking, promote Solana Beach as a car-free vacation spot and get visitors to enjoy local businesses in addition to the festival.
“We feel like we’ve accomplished all the goals we wanted,” said chamber president Carolyn Cohen. “It’s a huge effort and everyone is working really hard.”
In addition to seven added free parking lots along South Sierra Avenue and Via de la Valle, the Amtrak and Coaster are offering two tickets for the price of one, and the chamber is offering free gift bags for those who come to the free festival via foot, bike or train. There will also be a designated bike parking area on Lomas Santa Fe adjacent to the train station. Bicycle pedi-cabs will be offering rides to and from the parking lots for $3 to $5 dollars a ride, depending on how far the lot is.
During the previous 32 Fiesta Del Sol celebrations, attendees have not been enjoying the shops and restaurants of Solana Beach, Cohen said. This year, however, the chamber is working with a number of businesses along Highway 101, on Cedros Avenue, and in the city’s shopping centers by offering discounts to festival-goers.
“Retailers have not generally liked the festival, but this year everybody is so excited,” Cohen said, adding that there will also be jazz performances to entertain shoppers in the Cedros Design District — one at the corner of Rosa Street and another in front of Leaping Lotus.
Another huge venture for Fiesta Del Sol organizers is a new partnership with Antengo, a company that is offering a smartphone application that will map out the festival, discounted stores, parking lots and food trucks, in addition to offering a detailed music schedule.
Cohen said organizers are stepping up food offerings a notch, with a gourmet food truck festival taking place inside the festival itself.
“Gourmet food trucks right now are the hottest thing,” said Cohen. “They make really incredible food and we wanted to upgrade our fiesta food.”
Cohen said kid-friendly foods like kettle corn and Italian ice will still be available, but in the kids’ section of the fest.
For more information, visit www.fiestadelsol.net.