Thousands flocked to Historic Uptown Yucaipa over the weekend for the city’s eighth annual Music and Arts Festival. New this year was the location, the Performing Arts Center. The city estimated over 30,000 visitors attended the three-day event.
Yucaipa Mayor Bobby Duncan said he was impressed by the festival.
“It was absolutely amazing,” he said. “We planned the event for a year, and it went exactly as planned without a hitch.”
During the festival, there was a reported vehicle fire in the Historic Uptown. In addition, Yucaipa Police Department received calls for public intoxication, illegal parking and medical aid. However, no arrests were made at the festival.
“The festival was almost problem-free and in spite of a very large crowd, we experienced few problems,” said Police Lieutenant James Porter. “We had a lot of positive interactions with people and the community.”
Taste of Our Town
Each year, dozens of participating local restaurants feature their best culinary samples for the Taste of Our Town. Chair Stacy Dean put together a showcase of about 21 restaurants at the new YPAC on Friday night. Guests enjoyed a wide array of offerings, from tri-tip to homemade chocolates and patisseries.
Local foodies were eager to share their favorite dishes. Linda and Doug Witham have attended every Taste of Our Town at the festival.
“I really enjoyed it,” said Linda. “It was nicely done. I liked it being inside this year with tables and chairs to sit in, instead of standing. All the food was wonderful … American Road Trip, LemonShark Poke, the Mad Greek and more. It was all good and there was so much food and I couldn’t taste everything.”
The new Yucaipa Performing Arts Center made its debut at the 2019 Yucaipa Music and Arts Festival on Friday night and bands continued to play onstage through Sunday, May 5. On Sunday, youth bands took turns playing onstage during the afternoon. Some festival-goers danced to the music, while others watched from the sidelines.
The state of the art speaker system allowed the music to be heard throughout the festival.
Friday night’s opener, The Dreamboats, were a big hit, thanks in part to Lt. Porter who discovered the band and hooked them up with the city.
Thousands showed up for Friday night’s music headliner Foghat. Visitors crowded into the Uptown Park, quickly filling the space to hear the band. Director of Community Development Paul Toomey entertained guests as the headliner performance was delayed. Foghat, the first band to perform at YPAC’s outdoor stage, received thunderous applause from the audience.
“They sounded as good or better than they did in the 80s,” said concertgoer Nancy Kenny.
Following the show, band members also expressed their approval. “This was a fantastic crowd of several thousand people,” said Foghat’s lead guitarist Bryan Bassett. “The stage sounded great and we hope to come back again. “
Talented country band Wildee took the main stage on Saturday afternoon, followed by Yucaipa’s favorite James Wesley.
Wesley has performed at almost every Music and Arts Festival since 2011. “I love the new YPAC outdoor stage and hope to come back again,” said Wesley following his performance.
Saturday night’s headliner “Blues Traveler” wowed the audience with lead vocalist John Popper’s harmonica skills leading the way.
“They were amazing and I can’t believe this was a free concert,” said Terri Marci, who traveled with her family from Sky Valley to hear Blues Traveler. “This new stage is awesome.”
Sunday nights’ main stage entertainment featured San Bernardino Teen Workshop, Petty and the Heartshakers and The Long Run, an Eagles tribute band.
In addition to the main stage at YPAC, there was a Bryant Street Stage that featured rocking bands like Red Letter, The Acadmixx, Highland Music Group, Retroblast and Transers.
Gem and Mineral Show
The Yucaipa Valley Gem and Mineral Society was back for its 59th annual show at the Yucaipa Music and Arts Festival. Located on Yucaipa Boulevard and Adams Street, vendors offered a wide variety of gems, rare stone specimens, fossils, and jewelry for sale. Activities included the annual raffle, gold panning, and geode cracking.
At the School of Rocks booth, Mark Korafeld displayed a large chart identifying various types of stones.
“Some people believe the stones have healing powers,” he said. “One of my customers told me blue agate has a calming effect that cured her road rage.”
Korafeld, a retired teacher at an elementary school, started collecting interesting stones and fossils for his lessons. Some of his items for sale included polished jasper, fossilized eggs, and tiny meteorites.
James Bowden, a paleontologist and professional flintknapper, displayed colorful arrowheads he made at his booth, Past to Present. Wire jewelry and arrowhead excavation kits were available for sale as well.
The Yucaipa Gem and Mineral Society has a workshop located on Yucaipa Boulevard, between Second and Third Street, across from Del Taco. Residents are welcome to attend and use the equipment for lapidary projects such as engraving, cutting, and polishing stones. The session fee is $8 to use the workshop, and training is provided for using the equipment. For more information, call 238-8143.
Artists of all ages displayed their work on Yucaipa Boulevard in front of the Uptown Art Gallery, sponsored by VisionQuest. Adults practiced plein air painting during free outdoor art classes, and children decorated Yucaipa Boulevard with colorful chalk drawings. The Uptown Art Gallery provides a gallery for local artists to sell their work. Art classes are also offered at the studio throughout the week.
Nick Grisafe took home Best in Show with his white and purple bearded iris at the flower show, held on the second floor of the Yucaipa Performing Arts Center.
The pure white standards poised above the deep purple falls with intense yellow beards proved to be a combination too hard for the judges to ignore. Another entry, however, caught the eye of Yucaipa’s Paula Smus, who was enjoying the flower show and its 14 different categories for the first time.
Smus snapped photos of the “I Am Groot” entry, which featured the “Guardians of the Galaxy” character with an arrangement of small flowers coming out of his head.
“Because he’s a tree character, I thought that was really cute,” Smus said about the entry.
A new addition to the festival this year was the one-day popup vintage market, at one end of California Street.
About a dozen merchants sold everything from refurbished furniture to mirrors to wooden American flags and mason jars and metal containers that could be used for a variety of things, only limited by your creativity.
“We are staying pretty busy out here,” said Margaret Talley, owner of the local Fountain Gate Vintage who helped organize the vendors for the Saturday popup.
Talley also helps with the Uptown Vintage Market, which takes place the first Saturday of the month.
“It just clicked with everyone, that’s our Saturday,” Talley said when Uptown Vintage Market vendors saw the festival fell on the first Saturday of the month and wanted to participate.
Vendors and nonprofits
Whether it was snow cones, quilts, financial advice or politics, there was something for everyone at the festival vendor booths.
Helena Hill, of Yucaipa, stopped at Robin’s Pies when she spied something she couldn’t resist – a slice of caramel apple crunch pie.
“I purchased it because it sounded delectable,” Hill said with a smile before moving on to the next vendor.
Lucrecia Lopez and Kimberly Garcia’s children were having fun petting Shasta, the miniature donkey, who welcomed guests to the Yucaipa Democratic Club’s booth. Wearing a sparkling red and blue hat and pale blue tutu, Shasta was a colorful draw.
“I brought my kids here to play the games and just to have a blast,” Lopez said as her children, sporting painted hair from the Great Clips booth, took turns petting Shasta.
Kids Zone and Carnival
It was all fun and games at the carnival portion of the Music and Arts Festival. The carnival featured five rides, two of which were fun house type attractions.
“I love carnival rides, I just wish there were more here,” said Madison Nace. Also available at the carnival were five games, including tossing a ping pong ball to win a fish which seemed to be the most popular. The carnival was open all weekend, during festival hours and was located on First Street, south of Yucaipa Boulevard.
The Kids Zone is always a popular attraction to the festival. For $10 a day, kids were given access to eight different bounce houses. The most popular seemed to be the giant slide and the obstacle course. “I can’t pick just one, I love them all,” said 7-year-old Addison Miller, when asked which her favorite was.