Binding Fallbrook together as a community
Last updated 12/6/2007 at Noon
If you were in downtown Fallbrook on November 24, you might have spotted a 260-pound bald Pacific Islander wearing Frosty the Snowman underwear and trying to act as if he was Santa’s Helper.
The occasion was Fallbrook’s annual Historical Downtown Merchants Association launch of Joyful Traditions, preceded by Fallbrook Connections Networking’s Warm Winter Nites.
I am embarrassed to say that the elf was me. My wife had volunteered me as “Santa’s Helper,” handing out toys to the first 100 children who attended the event. I was concerned that no child would come near me, considering I looked more like a Chinese hit man (think of Odd Job from the James Bond-007 movie) than Santa’s Helper.
Much to my delight, however, not a single child ran away screaming in terror when I stooped down to ask how old they were so I could hand them an age-appropriate gift.
As the Village Square filled with parents and children, I started thinking about what makes Fallbrook such a great community. While there are all types of groups, associations and individuals that help to create and grow a community, in looking back I realized there are a few that really stand out – those special groups that (in my opinion) have helped make the village of Fallbrook into a community that is special in today’s America.
One such notable group is our own Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News. I remember when our daughter, Leilani, decided to purchase a small ice cream shop in Bonsall (Leilani’s Ice Creamery). At that time, almost seven years ago, she was visited by Julie Reeder, founder of the Village News, who was telling her about the weekly newspaper and its ability to help grow her business.
I distinctly remember commenting to my daughter, “It is not a real newspaper, since it only comes out once a week. You need to advertise in a paper that is daily and read by everyone.” Thinking back, it is now obvious to me that I spoke out of ignorance.
What the Village News has done (and continues to do), which a larger, daily paper, the Internet or television cannot do, is to offer up relevant information on a personal basis – things that are important to the families, friends and neighbors of Fallbrook/Bonsall and that just can’t be found anywhere else.
When we pick up the Village News, we see announcements and happenings that affect our daily lives, from stories about the Future Farmers of America to the opening of a business or the widening of Highway 76 and even the coverage of nationally reported stories, such as the Fallbrook fire that caused destruction of our homes and the loss of business for our merchants.
However, unlike coverage from a large daily paper, the Village News reports it all within a context that can only be offered by news reporters and editors who are somehow a part of the story. Either they live in Fallbrook or have a personal experience with the story they are reporting on.
What Julie Reeder; her managing editor, Debbie Ramsey; and their staff have done is not only to have created a niche that is both needed and wanted, but in so doing they have helped in both the growth and connectivity of the village of Fallbrook.