Beach Boulevard cities will throw block parties to ditch old notions for a day of fun


From Huntington’s surf all the way up to landlocked La Habra, it’ll be one big Beach party.

On Sunday, Nov. 17, bikers and walkers will claim a swath of Beach Boulevard during Meet on Beach, a series of free street fairs in La Habra, Buena Park, Anaheim, Stanton, Garden Grove, Westminster and Huntington Beach.

The seven cities that the 21-mile thoroughfare ties together constitute the Renew Beach Boulevard Coalition, which aims to shake off old conceptions — vacant lots, seedy motels and prostitution — and bring new energy to one of Orange County’s busiest streets.

The event will close a 1.5-mile stretch of Beach Boulevard to northbound traffic between and Orange Avenue in Anaheim and La Palma Avenue in Buena Park from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other cities will host their events at various public spaces.

Festivity times in each city vary — La Habra’s starts first at 9 a.m. and all will wrap up by 2 p.m. Organizers expect 2,000 to 5,000 attendees.

Attractions that day will include fitness demonstrations in La Habra, food trucks and music in Buena Park, Folklorico dancing Anaheim and an inflatable obstacle course in Stanton.

Farther south, there will be lawn games in Garden Grove, a bike rodeo in Westminster and more food and music at the street’s terminus in Huntington Beach.

“It’s meant to bring out positive energy and showcasing what could be in the future,” said Hannah Brunelle, associate regional planner with the Southern California Association of Governments. The regional planning body has helped organize the day of events.

Meet on Beach is being paid for by a $140,000 grant, Brunelle said, with each city also contributing staff time.

Beach Boulevard has been undervalued for a long time, but the seven-city Renew Beach Boulevard Coalition now is trying to turn that image around, said Joel Rosen, community development director for Buena Park.

Ideas include branding the street with new signs, mile-markers showing distance from the ocean and improving “walkability,” Rosen said. That includes providing more shade and attractive businesses, but starts with adding sidewalks to sections of the street where there are none.

“You can’t make it walkable if you don’t have a sidewalk,” he said.

The Orange County Transportation Authority and Caltrans are surveying the public through Oct. 26 for ideas on improving all modes of transportation along Beach Boulevard. Suggested answers include adding pedestrian bridges, having bus-only lanes and building light rail lines.