East Village welcomes baseball season with block party

Block party below begins in East Village prior to the opening game on April 9. Kaily Sanders, City Times

Block party below begins in East Village prior to the opening game on April 9. Kaily Sanders, City Times

kaily sanders

The energy was high as Padres fans, decorated in home colors, walked the streets enjoying live music and eating traditional fair foods with their friends and families.

J Street was closed from Sixth to Tenth avenues on April 9, celebrating the return of baseball season with the Third Annual Padres Opening Day Block Party.

Glenna Schmidt, vice president of the East Village Association, said this year there were approximately 70 booths set up with all kinds of sponsors, including local artists, DJs, businesses, vendors selling jewelry or handmade soaps, booths with games and raffles, and many different food and beverage stands.

The food booths included traditional hot dog stands, fair food like fresh roasted corn and local restaurants including The Burger Counter. The two-block beverage garden featured beers from Stone Brewing Company and various mixed drinks.

Schmidt said the best part of this year’s block party was the people. “The best part was just engaging with people from other parts of the county and watching them enjoy our East Village,” Schmidt said.

The free event was organized by the East Village Association, a nonprofit organization that focuses on educating people about the neighborhood. All the proceeds from the block party go to programs that help improve East Village and Downtown San Diego.

“We’re very happy with this year’s turnout. It’s expanded about 30-40 percent from last year. We have an extra block —- last year it was only from seventh to tenth,” said Lisa Lem, executive director of the EVA.

Lem has been a part of the Padres Opening Day Block Party for three years, since the event was created. She said she enjoys meeting people who don’t know about East Village and educating them about the neighborhood.

“People contact us first when they want to know more about East Village,” Lem said. As executive director, Lem has various responsibilities, including ensuring safety, selling sponsorship, board integration, managing schedules and more.

“There’s nothing she doesn’t do,” Schmidt said.

After the party, the San Diego Padres played the Los Angeles Dodgers at 3:40 p.m., and won their first game of the season with an ending score of 9-3.

For more information, visit www.eastvillagesandiego.com