San Diegans looking forward to the 41st OB Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off Festival will have to wait another year, unfortunately.
The street fair's organizers, the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, made the decision Thursday to cancel this year's event, which was scheduled for June 27, but plan on resuming the annual blowout in June 2021.
The annual festival -- which can draw as many as 70,000 attendees -- fills Newport Avenue with arts-and-crafts booths, food vendors and performing musicians, ending at the water with a large stage and beer tent down in the parking lot that adjoins the OB Pier. This year, the Los Angeles-based world/psyche/funk band TV Broken 3rd Eye Open were planned as headliners, joined by the dub-hop collective Boostive. Of course, OB's own long-running Grateful Dead homage, Electric Waste Band, who are occasionally joined by basketball legend Bill Walton on percussion, were planning on spending part of the afternoon on the main stage as well.
"Because our events bring local, national and international attendees, we must take extra precautions and careful consideration in our decisionmaking," Denny Knox, the executive director of the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association, said in a news release issued on Thursday morning. "We will do everything we can to make our events as safe as possible for everyone in attendance."
Like all the communities in the city of a hundred neighborhoods, Ocean Beach has been hit hard by the coronavirus. Along with the street fair, the 4th of July fireworks have been canceled as well. OB officials said that for now, Oktoberfest is still on the calendar for Oct. 9-10 but that they are "monitoring the current health climate and will provide updates if necessary."
“[The] health and safety of our community members is our top priority," Knox added. "We are excited to pick things up where we left off and continue the tradition of the street fair and Fourth of July fireworks in 2021. Community is at the heart of everything we do. Our work together today will help ensure the health of Ocean Beach in the days and months to come.”
One bright note: The association said there are plans afoot to resume the weekly OB Farmers Market sometime in early summer.