Weather was cool, but so was the fair: After blustery start, annual Encinitas event goes to the dogs

David+McLean+plays+the+conga+drums+with+SantanaWays%2C+a+Carlos+Santana+tribute+band+on+April+26+during+the+31st+annual+Encinitas+Street+Fair.++%28Photo+by+Scott+Allison%29

David McLean plays the conga drums with SantanaWays, a Carlos Santana tribute band on April 26 during the 31st annual Encinitas Street Fair. (Photo by Scott Allison)

Ellen Wright

The Encinitas Street Fair got off to a windy start April 26, delaying crowds until Sunday.

The cold weather and strong winds that deterred visitors also made setting up difficult for vendors.

“Tents were flying away this morning but everybody collectively helped each other out,” said Chris McArthur, owner of Got Moose? All Natural Pet Chews.

The low temperatures didn’t stop anyone, and those willing to come out Saturday were rewarded with plenty of room to browse the goods. It was also the only day visitors could enjoy the Dog Zone, which was expanded this year.

Dog owners could take their pets through a free agility course sponsored by Zoom Room and The Drake Center. There was also a dog photo booth complete with props. Jennifer Reed, media relations specialist for The Drake Center, said she thinks it’s fitting to have a dog area.

“I think it’s really great that they started doing the Dog Zone because people are bringing them anyways so it’s nice to have something specifically for them,” Reed said.

She said events like the Encinitas Street Fair are great places to socialize canines. “It’s great socialization for the dogs to bring them to these things to meet new people and new dogs,” she said.

Katelyn Hill of Oceanside brought her Pomeranian and enjoyed the dog photo booth.

“It’s nice that you can enjoy something here without having to spend money,” Hill said.

The Dog Zone expansion will be back for future street fairs, said Dody Crawford, executive director of the Encinitas 101 Mainstreet Association.

The Kids Zone returned this year complete with slides, bounce houses and a skate ramp for skaters of all ages. In between handing out skate keys and signing up skaters, Doug Works, general manager of Aura Skateboarding Company, said the community feel at the street fair was palpable.

“A lot of the kids skating today are from the community and they’ve been out to our facility in Vista,” Works said.

The street fair saw a much larger crowd Sunday. Crawford estimated about 40,000 people came Sunday to enjoy the weather.

The free bike valets, open on both ends of the fair, were packed with bikes. Revelers also enjoyed beers from Stone brewery while listening to local bands Simpkin Project and The Earful in the beer garden.

More than 450 vendors were on hand selling everything from dog chews to toilet bowl jewels. Crawford said she was very pleased with how the event turned out and is already looking forward to the 32nd annual Encinitas Street Fair.

Ellen Wright is a North County freelance writer