5 reasons to sail down to Chula Vista HarborFest


The Chula Vista shoreline will be the setting for harbor activities on Saturday at one of the city’s largest summertime festivals — HarborFest.

This family festival draws thousands of visitors to Bayside Park, a waterfront sanctuary offering cool ocean breezes and panoramic views of the Chula Vista’s skyline and San Diego Bay. Between 30,000 to 35,000 join in the community’s daylong fete every year.

“HarborFest is all about bringing family and friends of all ages together to experience a free day of endless entertainment and activities,” said Olga Berdial, special events coordinator with the city of Chula Vista. “HarborFest strives to make this a fun day on the bay for the whole community to enjoy without having to spend a ton of money… . “

Fans of lucha libre wrestling can root for their favorite luchadores as they perform aerial and high-flying moves against their opponents. Matches start at 11 a.m. and continue each hour until 3 p.m.

An all-new feature this year is Mermaid Cove, a mermaid-inspired boutique with flower crowns, a glitter bar, airbrush tattoos and free hair braiding.

“Whether you want to explore green vendors, interactive kid’s activities or go kayaking — there (are) plenty of free activities to keep you exploring all day long,” Berdial said.

Here are the major highlights:

Tacos, spirits and craft Beer

Whether you’re an aficionado or just plain hungry for tacos, put your taste buds to the test as you feast your way through dozens of savory tacos, ambrosial spirits and craft beers at this annual showdown. Fifteen of the region’s best top chefs, along with more than 10 distilleries and breweries, compete for your vote as best taco and best spirit. The competition runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 day of the event. The only criteria? You must be 21 or older. Drinks aren’t your thing? The organizers are offering a tacos-only option. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 day of the event.

If nectar of the gods is more your drink, then the Wine Lounge is the place to be. For $10, oenophiles can pick two tastes and a full pour from a variety of bubbly, whites, reds and rosés while playing a game of backgammon, chess or Jenga.

Sounds of HarborFest

Put on your dancing shoes and break out your best moves at HarborFest’s three stages of entertainment. The “This Is Chula” Community Stage will feature performances by local talent, including composer/trumpeter Jeff Nevin (mariachi influences) and Parker Meridien (hip-hop). Grab an ice-cold beer or margarita as you make your way to the Harbor Stage for an eclectic mix of alternative rock, pop, soul, progressive and some reggae performed by Reminiscence, Bad Kids, Los Pinguos, Caliber and SantanaWays. Kick those chairs aside and get ready for a spicy style of music at the Seven Mile Casino Latin Beats Stage. Latin beaters include Manny Cepeda, Perla Negra, Charlie Chavez y su Afrotruko and ballet folklorico troupe, DanzArt.

Discovery Zone

Step out of your comfort zone and let your inner child run free at this creative activities center.Test your balance as you race across the water inside giant water rollers, or challenge your friends in an outdoor game of xorbing as you roll, bounce and run inside a giant hamster ball. Ready for the ultimate dare? Harness up and bungee jump up from up to 30 feet in the air on the West Coast Bungy. Little ones can keep their feet closer to the ground with their choice of three bouncies: the Arch Slide, the Tropical Sunshine Slide and the Palm Combo. Other activities include rock climbing, parachute rocket, Frisbee golf, arts and crafts activities and animal encounters with the Living Coast Discovery Center. Bring your camera to capture your wild moments.

Classic Car Expo

Whether you’re a car collector, newbie or just love the beauty of exotic and classic cars, be sure to check out the more than 40 automobiles that will be on display along the Bayside Park shoreline. These buffed out vehicles will dazzle judges and spectators with their unique paint jobs, body styles and interiors. Trophies will be awarded in five categories, including People’s Choice, so be sure to cast your vote.

Pet Parade and Pet Oasis

Four-legged friends can strut their paws throughout the festival grounds and compete for prizes and oodles of attention from spectators. Awards will be given for Best Nautical Outfit, Best Matching Costumes (owner/pet), Best Chula Vista-themed Outfit, Cutest Pet and Most Outrageous Costume. There’s only 50 spots available, so be sure to sign up your pooch online before the spaces are all gone. The parade starts at the Pet Oasis at 3:30 p.m. Follow the paws on the map to the HarborFest Main Stage for the awards ceremony at 3:45 p.m. After the parade, bring your pups back to the Pet Oasis for a cool down of refreshing water and tasty treats available from a variety of vendors.


When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Bayside Park near the Chula Vista Marina, 999 Bayside Parkway, Chula Vista.

Cost: Free admission.