Community Voices

Downtown Report Early April 2023

King of Trees

Driving in the pouring rain, so what’s new, around the downhill turn right after the famous bowl at Hillcrest – no traffic or sign of trouble. Then, there it was, a decades-old oak tree had just been uprooted, toppling onto the road and blocking the way down.

What a shame to see it go. We don’t have a lot of mature oak trees to spare. When I backed up the hill, there were City workers already arriving on the scene to put safety cones out and take care of the fallen King of Trees.

They told me their concern was similar, especially if we get Santa Ana winds after all these storms. A few other large, mature trees have fallen around town. We need lots of groundwater and are getting it, so we have to take the bad with the good. Despite erosion due to heavy downpours, our trails are worn but alive and well, bordered by spring greenery.

Heart and Soul

It all started so modestly, so bare bones. The parking lot next to the Fullerton Museum Center was mostly crumbling asphalt, and what would become the Beer Garden was less than half as large as it is now.

Music was supplied by bands right across Wilshire Avenue. The bands stood precariously on a couple of sheets of plywood, held up by creaking lengths of wood that barely kept them off the dirt, likely recycled pallets. “Bubba” recently recalled that his amp slowly sunk into the plywood and nearly hit the dirt on that first night, but a good time was had by all.

The Kettle Korn vendor was one of the first big success stories, popping it right there in a large hand-crafted kettle, sending an irresistible aroma wafting over anyone within 100 feet or so. He handed out free samples to everyone who walked by and most quickly returned to purchase a large bag to take home as if it would ever make it that far.

A woman had converted an older camping trailer. She sold homemade cookies and large baked potatoes, which also became a huge hit. Of course, the farmers who brought produce were already established, but this was a new location for a Farmer’s Market. Kae Thomas, who we lost last year, lorded over the Farmer’s Market and ensured it would take off.

When anyone moves to Fullerton, if it’s the right time of year, we always tell them to go to the Thursday Downtown Fullerton Market if they want to find the heartbeat of Fullerton. Craft vendors, food and drink vendors live music on the huge stage, and of course, the main attraction, lots of Farmers bringing in produce, much of it harvested early that same day.

It’s that time now, so meet your neighbors and heed the often-heard slogan “Be there or be square” this Thursday, April 6, from 4 to 8:30pm. Bubba and The Big Bad Blues once again open the year with great, local, live music, just as they did three decades ago.

Humble Beginnings

Fullerton Downtown Plaza construction was completed in 1999. It opened on the first day of the new century “for the enjoyment and enrichment of the citizens of Fullerton.”

But wait, there’s more.

The dirt lot across the street became a park, now a daily attraction for families to play in and on and those who just like to relax on benches under the trees.

The ancient, often patched Wilshire Avenue was transformed into a comfortable concrete walkway, curbs removed, trees and other landscaping installed, and made ready for special events held there all year long.