City Council honors Pacific Beach Town Council and the Police and Emergency Services Appreciation Night (P.A.E.S.A.N) in recognition of 35 years of hosting this end of summer BBQ event. Nov. 17 is PAESAN Day in San Diego.
The originators of Police and Emergency Services Appreciation Night (PAESAN), held annually in Pacific Beach, were honored with a proclamation from the city on Nov. 17 saluting their efforts in commending the community's first responders.
Thirty-five years ago, PAESAN was begun by two women, Annie McDaniel and Mary Wilding, members of Pacific Beach Town Council (PBTC). Sponsored by PBTC ever since, PAESAN has become one of the community's signature events.
Every fall, PB residents get together at Crown Point for hot dogs, hamburgers and some fresh-grilled fish with all the fixings. It’s no ordinary end-of-the-season cookout but rather a fundraiser for PAESAN organized by PBTC. It's attended by representatives from the San Diego Police Department, San Diego Fire-Rescue, and the city's Park and Rec department, all honored for their service.
“Each year, one of those departments receives a check to help with expenses that the city budget doesn’t cover,” said PBTC director Marcella Teran. “This year, for the first time ever, two people who aren’t city employees, McDaniel and Wilding, who founded PAESAN three-and-a-half decades ago, were honored.”
Noting PAESAN is “the only one of its kind in the City of San Diego,” Teran pointed out McDaniel and Wilding “didn't want just the PBTC to thank the police, fire and lifeguards” but instead “wanted our whole community to come out and honor them as well.”
In recent years, park rangers were added to the group of public protectors being honored and supported by PAESAN.
“A few years ago,” said Teran, “past PBTC President Joe Wilding decided to raise money to support one of these departments. In recent years, the PBTC has raised money for bike lights and radios for the Police Beach Team bikes, retrofitted the kitchen and part of the garage for the lifeguards and partnered with the Mission Beach Women's Club to renovate Fire Station 21's kitchen. This year, PBTC donated $3,000 to the Park Ranger's to buy equipment the City would not cover.”
PB community planner and activist Eve Anderson noted that back in 1982, when Mary Wilding and PB Town Council board members started PAESAN, they tied it in with TAG (Tourists Are Gone) parties, wherein “folks in PB and Mission Beach celebrated among themselves regaining their nice, quiet beaches after Labor Day.
“That original event was held in the Catamaran, charging the grand sum of $3,” said Anderson.
In 1985, Anderson said, PBTC realized there were “more people to thank, including lifeguards, firefighters and paramedics (no park rangers back then). To honor them and to include families in the event, it was moved outdoors to Crown Point Shores, where it's been held for 30 years. That's when it was renamed PAESAN, Police And Emergency Services Appreciation Night.”
Anderson added that Mary Wilding, as PBTC executive secretary, was the energy behind the event, saying she was “outgoing and ever-helpful and seemed to know everyone in PB. She also worked closely with the police and the rest of the emergency service providers and felt strongly that they deserved more public credit for the service they provided year-round to PB. Thus the emphasis on the awards and the public officials who would help to present them.”
Later, PBTC brought in the other groups, including Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC).
“For years, board member Jim Moore's wife Cricket baked zillions of great cookies,” added Anderson. “Eventually, the Soroptimists of Mission Bay took over the dessert table. PB Rotary came forward with games for the kids.”
Anderson said PAESAN is not to be missed.
“It's a terrific community event, with rides on an old-time fire truck for the kids, provided by OMBAC and face-painting courtesy of PB Rotary,” she said. “And PB is still the only neighborhood in San Diego to publicly thank its emergency service providers with an everyone-is-welcome community barbecue. Because of the original efforts of Mary and Annie, that tradition should continue for years to come.”