Over 900 vendors participate in Carlsbad's fest, held in May and November. That's a lot of shopping.
  • Over 900 vendors participate in Carlsbad's fest, held in May and November. That's a lot of shopping.
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Today I was a very brave person. Despite my inner voice telling me to stay home, give my busy self a relaxing day for a change, I put the leash on my dog and we headed out for the Carlsbad Village Faire.

Where else can you walk a crowd of more than 100,000 with a propaganda sign in your hand and not be arrested or accosted? I had to walk with my dog in my arms much of the way, but survived a day at the massive Carlsbad Village Faire, the largest single-day street fair in the nation.

Visited by people who crave crowds, the streets are packed elbow-to-elbow from 8 to 5, rain or shine. For 40 years now they've kept coming – some new and unsuspecting folks, and some that have been coming all 40 years.

"I didn't know it was this big," and "Where does this thing end?" are comments I heard while pushing my way through the streets.

"Come with me," I plead to my girlfriend, also a long-time Carlsbad resident. "Nah, it's too crowded, no parking, all the same stuff." So off I went on my own, camera in hand, in search of something new this year.

At 2:00 in the afternoon, I found a parking spot eight blocks away, but that was ok because this was really just a dog-walking outing.

What I love most about street fairs is the smell of food. Thai chicken skewers are my favorite, and next favorite are the brats and tri-tip. Homemade lemonade is a must after walking for what seems like ten miles (really only four miles, so my pedometer says). I wish I could upload the smell of the food to share with you, but haven't figured out how to do that. Scratch and sniff just isn’t the same.

My 21-year-old son just returned from the three-day Coachella music festival and was having withdraws from all the fun, so I'm guessing he's feeling much better now, having spent the day at a street fair offering much of the same components: music, food, beer, wall-to-wall people. He grew up in Carlsbad and was working a booth at the fair, so the event turned out to be a reunion for him, running into former classmates, teachers, even parents of classmates.

The street fair is apparently THE place to take your dog out for a walk. One in three people had a dog leash attached to them – me included. Bella (my dog) and I weaved our way through the crowd to look at essential oils, garden art, custom toe rings, creative photography, BBQ sauces, psychic readings, glittery hats, leather purses, vintage signs, and about 20 other vendors in the two hours we were there. Some of the restaurants had water bowls on the sidewalk for the dogs.

There's no way anyone could make it through the 900 vendors there all in this single day – but would you really want to? Two hours provided enough sensory overload for one day.

I didn't see a new "have to have" thing, so I left without a bag in my hand, but enjoyed the afternoon out. Until November, Carlsbad Village Faire.

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