Hi All — Typically, my November column is dedicated to thanking all of the wonderful people who generously donate to the Avila Beach Civic Association to enable us to operate and maintain the Community Center. However, this month I want to tell you about the Avila Beach Children’s Business Fair that was put on by Kristen McKiernan and her family, friends, and many sponsors.

The Avila Beach Children’s Business Fair took place on Saturday, Oct. 16, in the Healing Garden of the Avila Beach Community Center. The event featured children of ages 5-17 years old showcasing and selling products to the public that they made themselves. The goal of the event was to spark the spirit of young entrepreneurship and join together as a community to support our local youth and families in their dreams for the future. 

As part of the application process, the kids had to come up with a product, brand, and marketing strategy for a one-day marketplace in which they were to keep all of the proceeds from their sales. There were over 37 booths representing kids from 23 different schools in our area, from Cayucos to Vandenburg…and the quality of the products and displays at each booth was nothing short of astounding! The kids sold everything from handmade jewelry, custom-planted succulents, homemade birdhouses, dog and cat toys and treats, hand-painted canvases, cookies and cupcakes, candles, crocheted crafts in all sorts of designs, and so much more!

The event was free and open to the public, and the marketplace was packed with excited and impressed shoppers for the entire event. Shoppers engaged with the children asking questions about their products which made their faces light up with smiles, and their voices beam with pride as they explained their motivations behind their businesses and the pride in the products they were selling.

Each participant received a signed certificate from all five of the SLO County Board of Supervisors. The booths were judged by Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg, Rick Cohen, Executive Director of the Avila Beach Community Foundation, and Mary Matakovich, Board Member of the Avila Beach Civic Association.

Sixteen booths were chosen to win $50 each and a trophy. In addition, they were selected on the most original, highest business potential, and best presentation. The four age groups were 5-7 years old, 8-10 years old, 11-13 years old, and 14-17 years old. 

Now the only question that is being asked is…will it happen again? 

Event organizer Kristen McKiernan stated, “The response to this event and the support of our community exceeded my expectation beyond measure. It was overwhelming, in a good way! This was the first time hosting an event like this in our community, but I am certain it won’t be our last. To join the mailing list to be notified of future fairs or events in our community, visit childrensbusinessfair.org/avila-beach. A special thanks to all of the event sponsors. This event could not have happened without them and the countless volunteers from parents, fellow students, community members, neighbors, and more. There is such power in the community!”

Santa’s Doggie Parade

Santa’s Doggie Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 11 a.m. on the Avila Beach Promenade. There will be a costume contest with the categories that include: Best Costume, Best Dog/Owner Look-Alike, Best Holiday Look, Funniest Costume, and Best in Show. Participants must register and be checked in on the Promenade prior to the beginning of the parade, where they will each receive a yummy goodie bag from Petco—Avila Beach. For more information, avilabeachcc.com.