COVID Cancels Adams Avenue Street Fair … Again

The iconic Discount Fabrics marquee displays the upcoming dates for the 40th Annual Adams Avenue Street Fair.
Steve Kader

For the second consecutive year, organizers of Normal Heights' Adams Avenue Street Fair were forced to cancel the annual street fair and music festival due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This would have been the 40th iteration of the event, which had been slated for Sept. 18-19. The announcement that the fair would return came just last month, so the update came as a bit of shock.

"The current spike in local COVID cases has led to this difficult decision," officials said in a news release sent out on Monday. 'Hosting a free event in an open, unrestricted venue limits our ability to require vaccination records or negative COVID test results. Thus, we would be unable to guarantee the health and safety of our audience and the community in which we work and live."

More than six months' planning went for naught with the cancellation, said festival officials, who added that they were not alone in their health concerns.

"… a substantial number of our vendors and exhibitors who underwrite street fair expenses have recently withdrawn from the event, citing COVID concerns," officials added.

Held over two days every September, Southern California’s largest free two-day music festival has drawn between 80,000 and 100,000 visitors in recent years. For 2021, 80 musical acts of all genres had been booked to play on seven stages, with about 300 arts and crafts and retail booths lining the avenue. Ozokids -- a spinoff of the popular Omozatli band -- were to headline, along with Thee Sacred Souls, the Creepy Creeps and others.

In 2019, headliners included Los Texmaniacs (with Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos); the Western Standard Time Ska orchestra; blues harp player extraordinaire James Harman and his band; Mexican ska-punk pioneers Tijuana No! with Ceci Bastida; surf-jazz duo Mattson 2; and local alt-rock stalwarts Dead Feather Moon.

And in case you're wondering, organizers are looking ahead:

"We look forward to Adams Avenue Street Fair in 2022! We encourage all San Diegans to get vaccinated so that we can protect one another and enjoy our San Diego way of life."

Contact Us