The event starts with a Hawaiian dance performance at 4:30 p.m. and continues until 6:30 p.m..
First responders being feted include police officers, fire-fighters, lifeguards and Mission Bay Park rangers. The fun, family-focused Police and Emergency Services Appreciation Night (PAESAN, brother or countryman in Italian) barbecue picnic will also include a fire truck for kids to climb aboard.
“This is a community appreciation picnic,” said Ellen Citrano, a Pacific Beach Town Council (PBTC) volunteer. “It's a big thank you.”
“Each year, we raise money to give to one of these departments, something they really need to do their job and protect the community,” said PBTC president Cathie Jolley. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we’re able to provide something that the city’s budget doesn’t cover.”
Last year Jolley handed off a $3,000 check to park rangers to buy a new ATV.
In 2014, PAESAN helped pay for a renovation of the kitchen at the PB fire station. This year the SDPD Beach Team will receive a Polaris 4-wheel ATV, which costs $15,000.
“The Catamaran Hotel has always been a big sponsor, and this year they donated $5,000 to kick it (fundraising) off,” Citrano said.
PAESAN was launched 36 years ago by Bill Bender, a member of the PBTC board and local restaurant manager.
“It was something we started after the summer to thank the police for all their help,” said Anne McDaniel, a 44-year PBTC member. “Bill chaired PAESAN for two years and when I asked if I could help out, he let me take over. The late Mary Wilding, the Council’s office secretary, also helped start the event, and encouraged expanding it to include fire-fighters, park rangers and lifeguards.”
The first two years PAESAN was held in the Catamaran Resort and Spa, honoring the Police Department’s Northern Division. As it grew, the event moved outdoors to make room for more families. PB residents supported the event by buying tickets and making larger donations; the officers, firefighters, lifeguards, rangers and their families enjoyed free dinners.
“These people really are heroes,” McDaniel said. “And they’re also our friends.”
After 22 years, McDaniel handed the job over to board member Ruby Houck, who was excited to be new PAESAN chair.
“Volunteers are doers and givers,” Houck noted. “Many people use their free time to play golf or take a cruise. We put on PAESAN.”
The PAESAN picnic once again features the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club manning the grills, with food provided by Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, PB Woman’s Club, the American Legion PB Post and PB Town Council.
San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman is expected to be among the attendees.
The cost is $5 for adults and free for children under age 12. Tickets are available online at www.pbtowncouncil.org. To become a sponsor or to order will-call tickets, call the PBTC office at 858-483-6666.