The Downtown Report: Mid December Edition

Sparkle Ball Alliteration

The famously fun, fantastic Fullerton Sparkle Ball display is finally in full force, and, being invited to check it out via an all-access pass and a street-by-street tour in a twinkly golf cart was too much to pass up. Masked up and covered up (wow, it was just over 50 degrees, freezing for us Fullertonians), we were joined by an even better decorated “Autoette” micro car and were treated by pedestrians and homeowners like Grand Marshals of a Christmas parade. If you have not seen the expanded and overwhelming show yet, head over to Yale Ave just off Chapman and head north. It is amazing how much coordination, cooperation, and work go into this. Hooray, something to feel good about, free, safe, and it’s close by.

Nancy Johnson drives an “Autoette”

Holiday Roundabout

Someone with a lot of spirit has added some holiday cheer and brightened up the often-maligned roundabouts on Wilshire. Slow down, you move too fast.

Times Long Past

Indeed, 2020 needs to become auld lang syne for our downtown, which is in the news and experiencing more trying times as the battle against COVID-19 continues. And continues. For many years the Fullerton Downtown Business Association partnered with the City of Fullerton, along with local business owners, to stage Winterfest. That event brought over 10,000 people to our downtown and exposed them all to our Mall alternative. Can’t do that now, so what can we do?

This year of course, everyone who owns a business in Fullerton that sells to the public is hopeful that you still Shop Fullerton First. If you can, order some takeout food while you are at it. If you are in the giving mood, leave a generous tip. We can get through this, there is light at the end of the tunnel, so let’s make sure all the great shops and restaurants are still here when that happens.

Bootleggers Offers Meals for Furloughed Employees

Aaron Barkenhagen of Bootlegger’s Brewery in Fullerton has released information regarding their “meals for furloughed employees” program. “We believe COVID-19 is a real threat to both community health and the financial well being of our community. We believe in supporting our community and employees and believe that the best and safest way to do that at this point is to do our best at following state and local guidelines and by supporting our fellow humans in any way we can.” A free hot meal will be offered every day at 4pm here in Fullerton for any furloughed employee in need for as long as they can keep it going. Bootlegger’s is located at 130 S. Highland Ave. If you can support this idea, go to the ‘Buy a furloughed employee a meal” button on their ordering system at:

Last Hoorah for This Year

On Sunday, December 6, there were mostly filled outdoor tables, as once again, with the pandemic striking us hard, restaurants were about to close down for three weeks. As you may have noticed, it was about as perfect a day as anyone could expect—clear skies and temps in the mid 70s—so no wonder so many wanted to escape their homes. This has been just too much for some, and sadly Vino Nostra will be gone at the end of this year due to a number of contributing factors. Owner Dena Bravo-David bid a fond farewell via Facebook live on the same day. I had learned of this the night before as some of her friends were discussing it. Very sad. We know we will see you again, Dena. Job well done. Take out is still available and the wine club is still active, so act now.

Photo Quiz

If you head west (left) on the road in the middle of this vintage photo (below), where will you be?

Send your answer to Mike at

1 reply »

  1. Is the City making any effort to push small businesses to thrive amid the pandemic? I noticed what looks like a rise in gentrification and the anti homeless (anti-camping laws) , seems to be that there’s a push to keep chains/corporations as staples while the businesses that made Fullerton what it is besides bars are basically dying, it seems strange they’re circumventing the laws regarding closing down outdoor dining but pushing a property value incentive ignoring the things that made Fullerton, Fullerton.