The 23rd Annual Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair and Parade
"Three Thousand Houses in Three Hundred Days"
My sister, Mary, in California contacted me in late March, 2008. I help organize the annual Linda Vista Cultural Fair, she told me, and I'd like to bring you out to play on one of our stages. It's a beautiful event. The Linda Vista neighborhood in the Bayside section of San Diego is extremely rich in diverse culture -- its residents have origins in about two dozen countries and speak something like 38 different languages.
That sounds awesome, I told her. But, being a guy from Iowa, what culture will I represent? She thought about it and suggest I try writing a song that represents the spirit of the event. I did that, they liked it, and on April 26, 2008 in San Diego, I had the privilege of performing my song, "Three Thousand Houses in Three Hundred Days", in the opening ceremony.
For the remainder of that sunny day, Mary and I took turns MC'ing the World Arts Village Stage at the festival, which gave us the opportunity to watch acts representing the cultures of Vietnam, Mexico, Spain, Africa, Bali and many others.
Linda Vista Road and the Story Behind the Song
Apparently, the Bayside community in San Diego has always been a draw to new waves of immigration. In the 1930s, fishermen from Portugal and Italy settled in the area.
The real boom, for Bayside and for San Diego as a whole, came during World War II. San Diego is characterized as one of the ten best natural harbors in the world. Additionally, it is in the perfect strategic location for the defense of the West Coast. When the United States entered the war in 1941, San Diego was the natural location to set up manufacturing of ships and flying boats.
The new boom in manufacturing required an influx in workers and the city, once called "Heaven on Earth" because of its quiet, laid back way of life, was now bursting at the seams with factory workers and their families. Workers were put up anywhere there was room, occasionally sleeping in shifts to use a limited number of beds. Infrastructure and services were taxed to their limits.
To accommodate these workers, new housing sprung up along Linda Vista Drive. In one year between 1941 and 1942, approximately 3000 homes were built, giving rise to the phrase "3000 houses in 300 days", the title of my song. At the peak of construction 40 homes were built in single days.
After the war, and to this day, Linda Vista Drive continues to attract residents from all regions of the world, including China, Vietnam, Laos, Mexico, and many other countries. It is lined with businesses representing these cultures.
The Linda Vista Multi-Cultural Fair celebrates this rich diversity.