For years, sisters Ofie Escobedo and Connie Trejo have organized an annual event to celebrate the heritage of one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city.
But for the second year in a row, the annual Fiesta del Barrio is on hold, while Ofie Escobedo recovers from a recent illness.
“She’s feeling better now,” said Connie Trejo’s son Henry, who helps his mom and aunt run Lola’s Seven-up Mexican Market and Deli. “But the event would be too much for her right now.”
Escobedo and Trejo have roots that run deep in the Hispanic neighborhood of Carlsbad, called Barrio Carlsbad. And to honor and help preserve the heritage of the area, Escobedo started the Fiesta Association to put on the event. The association also serves as a way to raise money for the Barrio Scholarship Fund.
“We really wanted to call attention to the area and have the city recognize that we are part of Carlsbad, an important part,” Escobedo said of what is considered Carlsbad’s first neighborhoods.
The Fiesta del Barrio did bring attention to the area, and the neighborhood has gone through a transformation since the 1980s, when Escobedo retired from aerospace
giant McDonnell-Douglas in Huntington Beach and returned to her old neighborhood.
But despite the changes, Escobedo is still concerned for the future of the area, and wants to continue her work to revitalize the neighborhood.
And many of the residents, of both the neighborhood and the city, are behind her.
Today, Lola’s market is a vibrant hub of activity linking the Barrio’s past to its future.
Lola’s market is considered the oldest operating business in the city of Carlsbad. In 1943, the sisters’ parents, Reyes and Dolores Jauregui, bought a small grocery store on the northeast corner of Walnut Avenue and Roosevelt Street.
The sisters eventually moved it across the street and renamed it Lola’s Seven-up Mexican Market and Deli.
Barrio Carlsbad, as it has been known since the beginning, is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Carlsbad.
After John Frazier discovered mineral water in 1886 and water was piped down from the San Luis Rey river, many farmers moved to the area, which also had a perfect climate for growing.
Carlsbad — and Barrio Carlsbad — were born.
In order to encourage immigrants from Mexico to farm the area, the government came up with a program.
And when the Mexican revolution began in 1910, many of the families in Barrio Carlsbad today came to the area to escape the war and farm the land.
The Barrio Carlsbad area started as a tent city, but later Pablo Ramirez built a house on the southwest corner of Walnut Avenue and Second Street, now called Roosevelt Street, in 1918. The house is now located across from Lola’s market, and is on the city’s tour of historic homes.
Although efforts for revitalization of the area have been in the works for years, many have said they prefer the feel of the old neighborhood.
Either way, many are awaiting the return of the Fiesta del Barrio and Escobedo, who has been recognized and credited for her contributions in linking the past and present together.
All from one corner market, with a lot of history behind it.