Many communities use events as economic development tools to drive traffic to their downtowns and foster investment (while having a good time, too!) While the true economic benefits from mega-events such as political conventions or the Olympics is debatable, local events can benefit the business community by introducing, or reintroducing, people to the downtown.
Halloween on Elm, for instance, is only in its third year, but it will draw more than 10,000 people to Carlsbad Village on Oct. 27, most of them local residents. Some of those visitors may not be aware of the changes taking place in the Village, so it's a great opportunity to reintroduce them to the Village and make them come back for more.
Because events do impact the businesses where they take place, we will work with event coordinators to ensure businesses get as much visibility as possible and can benefit from the influx of visitors.
Surprisingly, however, successful downtowns rarely need to host special events, because every day is an event. Visitors don't need to plan ahead to attend special events, because they know that anytime they go downtown, there will be something interesting going on.
On a Friday night last month, anyone who happened to visit the Village would have noticed that the trees on State Street between Grand Avenue and Carlsbad Village Drive were lit with thousands of dazzling white LED lights.
They also would have enjoyed the music of three different artists as they sat outside to eat dinner.
The Village is currently in transition, and this is the kind of informal experience we want to create year-round: a Village whose offering is robust and vibrant, not just in the businesses that are there, but in the experience that it offers to its users any day of the week.
Through our user surveys, interviews, and observations, we discovered that State Street was far too dark at night.
The beautiful trees on this block in the heart of Carlsbad Village lend themselves to decorative strand lighting, which is relatively low-cost and creates a safe, festive atmosphere.
The lights were installed on Sept. 6, with business owners, property owners, and the City's Transportation Department working together to power lights on each tree. State Street has had a whole new ambiance ever since, and the response from the business community, Carlsbad residents, and visitors alike has been overwhelmingly positive.
Westman can be reached at [email protected]

Village Events
Autumn Harvest
Festival at
the Certified
Farmers' Market
Oct. 17 & 20, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Roosevelt and Grand Parking Lot

Village Voices
Oct. 24, 8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Village Workshop
530-A Grand Ave.

Cruising the Art Scene
Oct. 25, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Village Faire Shopping Center
300 Carlsbad Village Dr.
Halloween on Elm
Oct. 27, 1:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Throughout the Village