July 29, 2016: For immediate release
Contact: Kim Keeline, firstname.lastname@example.org; 619-832-2278
Electriquette Celebration: Balboa Park’s Famous, Fun, Historical Ride Celebrates Its Return to the Prado Sunday, August 14
In 1915-1917, if you walked into the main area of Balboa Park, you might have seen someone zip past you at 3.5mph in an electrically-powered wicker cart, which looked something like a cross between a sled and garden furniture. The Electriquettes, as they were called by their creator, a local named Clyde Osborn, were a hit during the Panama-California Exposition. They were one of the most photographed items for the event, which left a mark on our city by providing us with many of the iconic buildings and institutions in gorgeous Balboa Park.
If you’ve been to Balboa Park recently, you might have been surprised to see that the carts have returned. Sandor Shapery started the project in 2012 and brought in Heritage Architecture to research the originals and a prototype was made (eventually there were 3 units). These were displayed at the San Diego History Center, the San Diego Automotive Museum, and one of the airport terminals as part of the centennial celebration. In the meantime, negotiations were going on to bring more of these carts to the park. It took some time, but there was a quiet opening of the rental kiosk in front of the Reuben H. Fleet in the last weekend of March 2016.
Since then, over 2000 carts have been rented out, as the Electriquette Motor Cart company got its bearings; a kiosk was set up, employees hired and trained, and more carts brought into the park. In addition, the project has been honored with three awards: a People in Preservation award from the Save Our Heritage Organisation, an award from the Historical Resource Board of the City of San Diego, and the California Preservation Design Award.
August 14, the Electriquette Motor Cart Company will celebrate its official return to Balboa Park with special extended hours (11am-7pm), costumed characters in the park (2pm-6pm), special activities (2pm-6pm), prizes, giveaways, and special offers.
The Electriquette Motor Cart Company is open every day (conditions permitting). The normal hours of operation are 11am-5pm (M-Th) and 11am-6pm (F-Su). The carts are replicas of the 1915 Electriquettes and have an allowed route on the Prado area of Balboa Park from the Bea Elverson fountain area to the Plaza de Panama. All details on the carts, the history of the project, and restrictions can be found on their website www.wickercarts.com.