Baja Blues Fest Spreads The Dinero Around

Giving us final report card and handing $10,000 to local charities
BY: REN DRAKE HILL

At an intimate gathering at the Rosarito Beach Hotel, the Baja Blues Fest board presented $2500 to each of the charities chosen to receive money from this year’s Baja Blues Fest. Board president Jackie Alameda thanked CUTUCO, and FRAO for their help in promoting this event, and the Rosarito Beach Hotel for the use of their grounds for the three day event, the Adobe Lounge for Friday night’s standing room only jam, rooms and meal tickets for band members, security, and so much more. Bobby’s By the Sea provided the T shirts for the volunteers and for sale, and have signed on again for 2016.

Raising a child is a communal effort, and this year’s concert attendees supported four model local children’s causes.

Los Angelitos Orphanage, run almost single-handedly by Ed Perry, (still going strong at 71), is located in the hills of Rosarito, off the Boulevard 2000. Ed, an orphan himself, started it 13 years ago with five girls he found in an abandoned house with no water or food.  Los Angelitos is licensed by DIF to care for the overload of children picked up by police in Tijuana and Rosarito. He provides housing, education, food and love in a Christian environment. Hundreds of children have passed through the doors of Los Angelitos. Recent projects include a new dormitory and the creation of patio areas. Ed stated that this money will sponsor five children for an entire year.

BECA, represented by Maricela Daniels and Molly Post, started more than 30 years ago as a shoe fund focused on the schools in the La Mision area. They now provide financial aid for about 113 students through scholarships based on need, for continuing education in universities and trade schools; also tuition and uniforms for students at the new high school in La Mision. For two years BECA built a culinary teaching kitchen with the help of many local volunteers. The newest projects include a new computer lab and library.

Alan and Elizabeth Browne of the Friends of the Library highlighted their many reading programs, support of area schools and the five local libraries. Rosarito Lee (Rosarito Reads) provides books for students in grades four, five and six at 31 schools. So far, more than 4800 books have been donated through the Rosarito Lee program.  In 2016 the popular Panchito Cup Jeopardy-style tournament will be expanded to include every school in the early rounds. In the future, the Friends of the Library would like to expand their reading program to the secondary schools.

Mary Ellis of the La Mision Children’s Fund emphasized that water purification is vitally important, and wants to expand their current water project into all schools in the area. Students are being trained to install these purification systems with the help of American and Mexican companies.

Also sponsored is El Faro, a home for “third chance” teenage girls. Programs throughout the year include Christmas at Miracle Ranch for 1200 children, and a Mardi Gras Ball in February.

Attendance this year for all 3 days was 3100, with Saturday being far and away the biggie with 2075 music fans attending. That day 6% filled out a survey which showed 43% were first timers, 82% came from the US, 64% were older than dirt. Well, over the age of 60. 41% were retired, 38% stayed in a hotel, 30% rented a house or condo, 42% earn $50K to $75K, 17% earned $75k to $100K, and 26% said their income is none of anybody’s bees wax.

Total gross for the event was $37,000, takeaway expenses of $21,500, and takeaway retained earnings to jump start next year’s event of $5000, leaves about $10,000 to give to the various local charities.

Alameda was beaming, saying this is the most they have ever had to give.

Baja Blues Fest 2016 is set next year for August 19, 20 and 21. For information, check out www.bajabluesfest.org. They can always use more volunteers, and more sponsors. Sign up with Jackie Alameda at Click-on postal and internet place on the free road in Puerto Nuevo, or go online.