SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. —
It may not feel like fall in San Diego just yet, but the season officially started last week. From trips to Julian (and farther) to local festivities, there have always been lots of ways to celebrate autumn here even if you’re still wearing shorts and t-shirts.
Harvest Festival in San Diego – 1979
In the fall of 1979, News 8's Shirley Clum attended the Harvest Festival and let the music do the talking. There were arts and crafts and live entertainment by the Fabulous Frisco Follies plus pumpkin decorating for the kids and a chance to get a jump start on Christmas shopping. It's why The Harvest Festival is always a hit in San Diego. It's been held at many venues and in 1979 it was at The Community Concourse.
A trip to Lake Arrowhead in the fall of 1985
"Fall is a favorite time for tourists who want to see Lake Arrowhead minus most of the hustle and bustle."
News 8’s Jody Hammond made the trek up there in 1985 and found a beautiful town in the midst of a growth spurt. The once sleepy village was transforming into a resort town with plenty of shops, restaurants, and accommodations to attract visitors. The Hilton had recently been built in 1982, paving the way for more tourists and conventions. Some folks missed the old days and others embraced the changes.
Long-time resident Roland Poland told Jody about old Hollywood movie stars that frequented the mountain town including Buster Crabbe, the Lockharts, and Howard Hughes. Liberace had a home there and a boat that looked like – what else? A piano.
Lake Arrowhead is just two hours from Los Angeles and two hours from San Diego. The perfect getaway for city folks.
A trip to Dudley's Bakery in Santa Ysabel – 1978
A favorite of fall time for San Diegans is a trip to Julian. And on the way to or from the mountain town, a stop at Dudley’s Bakery in Santa Ysabel has always been a must. News 8’s Doug McAllister went there in 1978 to get the scoop on the variety of freshly baked bread available. The bakery had changed owners since it opened in 1963 but the recipes and traditions remained the same.
Fall season arrives in San Diego 1992
Hal Clement went in search of signs of fall in sunny, hot San Diego in 1992. He found some trees with red leaves, but nothing like the rich hues in New England.
It's usually still hot here after the autumn equinox but the stores then and now stock the shelves with sweaters and jackets. Hal Clement went shopping at Eddie Bauer and tried on a goose down parka but likely didn't buy it. The classic blazer and a wool wrap were in fashion for women in fall of '92.
Hal found pumpkins at Pinery Tree Farms and Christmas trees - another sure sign of fall. As of 2020, Pinery still operates tree farms each year and several Pumpkin Station locations around San Diego ahead of Halloween.
David Katz, an East coast transplant said people asked him how he could stand the sun being out every day in San Diego--he laughed and said he could stand it. Mr. Katz - like so many of us - can appreciate endless summer in our beautiful city.
No bars in Julian 1978
On another fall 1978 trek to Julian, News 8’s Doug McAllister found something missing from the mountain community.
In 1869 gold was discovered in Julian and thousands rushed to the mountains to search for their fortunes. Saloons with brawling – the wide-open western kind - were as much a part of Julian as miners and gold fever. The fever lasted until about 1885 when the mines began to play out and the people began to leave. The number of saloons dropped with the population.
In 1910, the town went dry when Julian voters outlawed all watering holes. They were tired of brawling and killing. Bootleggers brought liquor in during prohibition.
As of 1978, it was available in stores but there were still no bars in Julian. Rongbranch closed one year earlier but it was a beer bar with no hard liquor. The closest bar was four miles away at The Pine Hills Lodge. The only place to have a mixed cocktail was at American Legion Post 468 in Julian and it was licensed as a private club.