A plot of land that has been vacant for many years in Julian will soon be transformed into a new, vibrant town square, and a celebratory ‘soft opening’ is planned for June to introduce the idea to the community.
The lot, at the corner of Washington and Main streets, had in the past been home to a Chevron station as well as a sheriff’s station and community store, but leaks from the gas station tanks rendered the site unusable. With a recent reclassification by San Diego County, the site can now be developed, and the Julian Community Heritage Foundation has been diligently working toward that goal. The group, founded in 2017, is comprised of volunteers from the community who hope to make the town square into a hub of music, theater, and the arts.
Dana Pettersen, vice president and fundraising chair of the Foundation, said “when we initially started the Foundation, we were building the Town Square for our community to host different events, for school children to meet there for field trips…but of course, we welcome our tourists.”
According to the Heritage website (https://juliantownsquare.com), more than $600,000 has been raised through county grants and community enhancement funds to make the project a reality. Donations can be made here: https://juliantownsquare.com/index.php/contact. A preliminary design by Foundation member Jay Evart shows a stage with amphitheater seating, space for a Farmer’s Market as well as craft vendors, restrooms, and picnic tables for visitors to enjoy. Pettersen said former county supervisor Dianne Jacob was instrumental in securing funding for the project, which was officially acquired in May 2021.
Saturday June 4, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., the event is an opportunity for the Julian community to get a first look at what the square can offer. “We’re going to have music, some different artists form the Julian Art Guild to do children’s activities, and altered experiences (a local ‘glamping’ business) will festoon the site with rugs, pillows, to create a general ‘boho’ atmosphere,” Pettersen said.
The June event is open to the public, and local restaurants will be open to sell food, or visitors can bring their own picnic lunches. The park will likely have a grand opening in two to three years, Pettersen said, and the Foundation’s vision for what she calls a drought-resistant “passive park” includes wellness fairs, outdoor yoga sessions, speakers discussing the history of the area, art shows, theatrical productions, and musical performances. All performers are local to the area.
12:50pm: Long-time resident and MC Scott Finney will open the festivities, welcoming everyone and speaking about the future plans for the Julian Town Square.
1 p.m.: Julian Arts Chorale—classical vocal ensemble
2 p.m.: Donn Bree—country, blues, alternative
3 p.m.: Dusty and the Love Notes—countrified rock, originals
4 p.m.: Judy Taylor—new country, classic country, rope/lariat tricks
5 p.m.: Natural Selection—classic rock, originals
Jeff Holt will be performing between sets at the hospitality tent.
The musical events are a Harold and Maude and Wicked Harem production.