PB Block Party: Drunken times and family fun

    Drunken dissoluteness is not the only thing staking its claim on Pacific Beach.

    The 29th annual Pacific Beach Block Party will wreak havoc on the entirety of the San Diego neighborhood May 8, with attractions ranging from musical acts from all across the country to showcases of local talent. It will also include a wide variety of vendors and attractions throughout the main drag of Pacific Beach.

    A major San Diego event, this year’s party will be located on Garnet Avenue from Ingraham Street to Mission Blvd.

    The free event provides entertainment that spans all age groups; multiple outdoor stages and a barrage of musical talent lay claim to this year’s concert schedule posted on the event’s Web site, http://www.PBblockparty.com.

    “Seven stages will be set up outside,” said Kevin Hellman, a coordinator for the block party. Hellman said that he estimates over 65 bands will play, including the club attractions.

    “Bands are coming from all over,” Hellman said. “It started as a very local community street fair, but has extended to include national artists.”

    National notables include blues prodigy Joe Bonamossa, who was discovered as a teenager by B.B. King and has blossomed into a blues guitar expert. Bonamossa will play the Jazz 88 stage, while B-Side Players will perform an unplugged set at the 91X stage.

    The festival, oriented around the community, also celebrates local talent. Local heroes Louis XIV will unleash their brand of garage rock, while other talent spans from the up and coming progressive rock sensibility of Scarlet Symphony to the quietly honed pop sentiments of Reeve Oliver.

    Aside from all the sonic surroundings, the block party celebrates a whole new side of local talents. According to the event’s Web site, “Over 400 booths of unique arts and crafts, inventions, corporate sponsors and virtually everything else ‘under the sun’” can be seen at the party.

    This includes a Kid’s Corner, with family entertainment and an NBA Jam Van that will be parked throughout the party.

    “At all times there’s something to do,” Hellman said.

    The party has drawn over 75,000 people in the past according to Hellman, and exists to truly serve the community. Profits in the past have gone to the Pacific Beach Town Council, Discover PB, Kiwanis, PB Rotary and the Mission Bay Youth Association.

    “Donations are usually matched by the organization, so it guarantees that they’ll be contributing to the community,” Hellman said. Organizations like the Pacific Beach Town Council and Discover PB have already received donations from this year’s event, and have used this money to promote extra police protection on the day of the block party.

    Other Pacific Beach organizations have used their money to further programs for youth baseball and develop community outreach.

    Much of the committee that puts the event together has been working together on the block party for over 15 years. Some have even been a part of the staff for all 29 years, said Hellman.

    “We work to make it safe, something for the community,” Hellman said. “It’s a fun, friendly event. Hopefully there’s some nice sunshine.”

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