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SAN DIEGO -- Hillcrest residents and visitors will be line-dancing, clogging and two-stepping down University Avenue this Sunday at the first-ever Hillcrest Hoedown, taking place from 1 to 8 pm.
The free event will take place along Hillcrest's main thoroughfare from Normal Street to Vermont Street and willl be a cowboy-themed fall celebration in the heart of the community.
Organizers say that University Avenue will be completely transformed into a hoedown, complete with hayrides, a mechanical bull, a petting zoo, streetside saloon, arts and crafts vendors, and entertainment.
"All of the things we do help raise funds to go back into the community for beautification projects, for instance the re-lighting of the Hillcrest sign," said Johnathan Hale, Hillcrest Hoedown event chair and publisher of San Diego Gay & Lesbian News. "The HBA has been a great asset for our community in raising these funds."
HBA is one of the oldest organizations of its type in San Diego and it works year-round to encourage enconomic development for the Hillcrest area through events and promotions. The organization also employs private security patrols in the core of the neighborhood, and works on a number of other community beautification projects.
At this year's CityFest held in August, the HBA unveiled a new Hillcrest sign to replace the previous sign that had gone into disrepair.
The organization is also working on a project to install a large flag pole in the neighborhood that would fly a rainbow flag year-round.
HBA board members and staff are encouraging community members to support these projects by participating in this weekend's Hoedown.
A diverse entertainment line-up is planned for the Hoedown's Grande Stage all day long. Selections include drag performances, cultural dancing, country music and more.
1-2 pm: Tori Rogg
2-3 pm: The Dream Girls Revue
3-5:30 pm: DJ Tim Harmon spins Country
5:30-6 pm Ballet Folklorico Yaqui
6:15-7 pm: Urban Kickers Performance
7-7:15 pm: Costume Contest and Hoedown Number
7:15-8 pm: Heritage, Bluegrass Band
Line dancing lessons by Urban Kickers will take place on the hour, every hour.
Organizers encourage participants to come dressed in cowboy/Hoedown gear and to participate in the costume contest. Judging will take place at 7 pm sharp and the winner will take home "the ultimate Hoedown prize."
Fun all day long
Besides the entertainment, Hoedown-goers will be able to drink in the "Street Side Saloon" located on Richmond Ave., visit the petting zoo, and choose food selections from over 15 vendors, including Hillcrest's Brazen BBQ which will be grilling racks of ribs all day long.
Brave individuals can jump on the mechanical bull and be judged by members of the San Diego Rodeo.
The street will also be lined with arts and crafts vendors, booths, and of course, diverse community members that will make for great people watching.
HBA volunteers and staff have been out in local bars and other establishments over the past week promoting the Hoedown and getting community members talking about the event.
At Bourbon Street Bar & Grill in University Heights on Thursday night, cowboy hat-clad volunteers handed out postcards and encouraged people to "LIKE" the Hoedown's Facebook page.
Some communty members had not heard of the Hoedown, while others were particularly excited about it.
Geri Williamson, who is visiting San Diego this week from Pennsylvania to visit family and friends, said that she was glad to hear about the event.
"This sounds like a lot of fun," said Williamson who claims to be a 'cowgirl at heart.' "Sure, we sort have of hoedown-theme parties back east but it seems to be more of an "out west" American tradition, so I can't wait to see how this event goes - I've got my boots ready!"
If you go
Organizers encourage community members to make a day out of the event, by starting at the Hillcrest Farmers\' Market which runs from 9 am to 2 pm, and then heading to the Hillcrest Hoedown.
Those who live in the area are encouraged to walk if possible, as parking will likely be particularly impacted.
The Hoedown will be set-up along University Avenue between Vermont Streeet and Normal Street. The main stage, dance floor and saloon will be located near Richmond Street.
Those who wish to purchase cowboy boots, hats or attire might find items at Boot World locations, as well as Hillcrest businesses such as Buffalo Exchange, The Village Hat Shop, Flashbacks, and Luigi Vera Boutique.
For more information about the Hillcrest Hoedown, click HERE.