Summer is approaching, and it appears that many, if not most of the usual summer activities around Channel Islands Harbor will be making their way back in 2021. As with all other things, COVID played havoc on all things fun here at the Harbor. But over the past month or so, it has been clear that the energy is coming back. Restaurants are filling up, as are the walkways. The Sunday Farmer’s Market is almost back to looking like it did pre-pandemic. Though there are still some COVID restrictions, the hope is that most will be much more relaxed by summer.
As for activities, in early April, we received some good news and some sad news regarding several long-standing summer traditions.
First, the annual Independence Day celebration is on. Vendors, the family parade, and many other activities are back – except for the big one. There will be no fireworks celebration again this year. According to the Harbor Director, this is not “directly” due to COVID, though it may be indirectly related. He states that it is a funding issue. Outside contributions from local businesses make up much of the costs, and they are not available this year.
One of the lesser know activities but one that brings a great deal of mystical fun for the kids, Fairy Tales in the Park, will not be back. Gypsies in the Trunk, the traveling theatre troop that puts it on weekly throughout the summer, reports they cannot meet required COVID conditions. They do hope to be back next summer.
On the other hand, the schedule for the Saturday Concerts by the Sea at Peninsula Park just released their summer schedule. It runs every Saturday, beginning July 10 through August 28, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. These concerts are free, the talent is excellent, and you can find the schedule at ChannelIslandsHarbor.org.
In his May report, Mark Sandoval, the Harbor Director, stated that he expects most other events, such as car shows and art shows, to be back.
There was also some hopeful news regarding some of the projects for those of us who live here. The big one, the hotel and restaurant project at the end of Peninsula Road, might actually be underway soon. Mr. Sandoval stated that while there have been COVID-related delays, demolition of the old Casa Sirena Hotel is now expected to begin before the end of the year. He also said they are planning to start painting the buildings at Fisherman’s Wharf. This project is an unexpected and curious sidenote that he expects pushback on but says that delays in talks with prospective developers mandates they continue to care for the buildings.
And you might be curious about what’s going on at the mouth of the Harbor. It’s a periodic replacement of armor stone needed to ensure navigational safety and to prevent degradation of the structural integrity of the jetties and breakwater. It hasn’t been done since 1996 and is expected to be completed by September.
So, we’re going to be minus some summer events that we have become accustomed to, but the energy around the Harbor is coming back, and we hope to see you there.