The city of Chula Vista is celebrating its maritime history with a two-day harbor event this weekend.
Chula Vista Harbor Days is a free celebration of the waterfront partnership between the Unified Port of San Diego, Big Bay, Maritime Museum of San Diego and Chula Vista Port tenants.
The festival offers family activities, live music, boat tours, art and power sports exhibits.
Chula Vista City Councilwoman Pamela Bensoussan has been involved in the planning of Harbor Days for the last three years.
Harbor Days originally started in 1896 as a signature event running until 2004 and returned in 2010 as a pre-centennial event.
“My involvement started with the pre-centennial event because we wanted to be able to bring the event back for the centennial year,” Bensoussan said. “My role is to be the city liaison to help make it a city-endorsed event and provide support.”
Bensoussan said the event was so popular the city brought it back by popular demand.
“We responded to the Port’s (San Diego Unified) willingness to sponsor more events on the waterfront in Chula Vista,” Bensoussan said.
She also said a major focus of the event has been the emerging art community in which many local artists have been gathering momentum.
Bensoussan said the event is unique because it links residents to the city’s past.
“It’s really a celebration of our harbor — that’s the primary focus,” she said. “We have a lot more to celebrate this year with the (South Bay) power plant coming down and the California Coastal Commission’s approval of the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan.”
Bensoussan said that each year the event becomes more special as more people learn about it and become engaged.
“It’s an event that is community organized so it’s really a home-grown event,” she said.
The two-day event features free tours of yachts and ships for families, including the Seal boat of the South Bay, historic steam yacht Medea and San Diego Maritime Museum’s tall ship Californian. The tours teach guests about nautical history and past maritime life.
Action and power sports enthusiasts can check out the Thunderboats located near The Galley restaurant, while McMillan and Norman Motorsports will be the focus of a Baja 1000 off-road racing exhibit.
In addition, a wharf marketplace will line the entrance to ships and guests can enjoy music by 12 popular local bands, a beer garden and food court from the islands of the Caribbean and Pacific.
A juried art show will be featured at the Chula Vista Marina Gallery with more than 30 artists showing and selling their work.
A kid’s zone will provide art, music, culture and other entertainment with its Playful City campaign. In addition, children will learn the importance of staying active, eating healthy and making the right choices early on as they participate in outdoor games, contests, arts and crafts.
On Sunday, award winning Native American musicians and dancers “Wind Spirit Drum” will hold a children’s powwow.
The Old Town Trolley will shuttle attendees for free to and from the E Street trolley station and key locations throughout the event. The event runs Saturday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.