Santa Ana street breakfast returns Sunday


The Santa Ana Breakfast Club at the intersection of Main and Fifth streets in 1933. In the forefront, some people are dressed in Spanish costumes and others in Western costumes. (Courtesy of the Santa Ana History Room)

The iconic black and white image of a closed-off street in downtown Santa Ana shows a large crowd sitting or standing by long tables, many wearing the fashions of 1933.

Ladies wore hats. Gents wore ties.

On Sunday, an updated version of that gathering could come to life. The Santa Ana Breakfast Club, a popular tradition during the 1920s and ’30s, will be held July 28 on Fourth Street in honor of the city’s 150th anniversary.

“This is about bringing everyone together to have a great time and feel like a part of history,” said Ryan Smolar of Downtown Santa Ana, one of the event’s organizers.

“It’s a real family day.”

Residents are invited to the giant party that will close Fourth between French and Bush streets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The breakfast will feature historic re-enactments, live music, arts and crafts, a kid zone and a breakfast that includes chilaquiles, pancakes and vegan fare. As many as 2,000 people are expected to attend.

Tickets are $10 each and residents are encouraged to buy in advance via Group tables are available for $250 to $500.

The open-air breakfast harkens back nearly a century, to when a group calling itself the Santa Ana Breakfasteers began to gather a couple of times a year on Main Street. Then the Great Depression hit and the street breakfasts ended.

But in the decades since, the breakfast gatherings have been recreated at least a couple of times — in 1960 and again in 2016, when more than 1,600 residents showed up. The last was held in 2017 at Santa Ana High.

The upcoming event is part of a broader celebration of Santa Ana’s sesquicentennial. The city was founded on Oct. 27, 1869 by William H. Spurgeon and incorporated in 1886. Other anniversary-themed events include a “Blessing of the City,” from 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 8, when local interfaith leaders will pay tribute to city and its history.

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