EL CENTRO — Rapper artist Ace the Vig held the microphone close to his lips, and began to rap Saturday night before a crowd of appreciative youngsters at the corner of Main and 6th streets during El Centro’s Nights on Main Street street fair.
Some of the young crowd familiar with the song lip-synced with the artist, known by his stage name, Ace the Vig. The sound blaring from speaker boxes could be heard a block away and his elder brother, Elijah Bañaga, provided background rap.
“It’s amazing. The weather is great,” the artist said of the evening’s event.
According to him, two of his songs, “The Testimonial” and “Now That I Know,” had a message for listeners. “My message is basically to help young people and guide them to the right path. To seek truth. My truth is God. So, seek God,” he said.
Lights from portable generator-powered street lamps cast a bright glow along Main Street. As people walked along the street, they could spot their shadows either lengthening or shortening as they strolled farther or closer to the light source.
Local crowds attending Nights on Main Street provide a venue for local artists, sales for store business owners and free entertainment for the community.
Wendy Luevano, owner of Simply at Home Antiques & Collectibles, said the event attracted new shoppers who wandered inside her store. Her store front used to be occupied by an office supply store for many years. According to Luevano, Office Supply had reduced its floor space and moved their location behind her Simply at Home store.
Her new store opened April 1 last year, she said, and offers a variety of vintage, antique, unique, and new stuff, such as such as vinyl records, old photographs, vintage film projectors, furniture, lamps, vases, dividers, and wall clocks.
She said reactions from shoppers were varied. “You can imagine when people come in and they said, ‘My grandmother has this.’ It’s like walking down memory lane. I love to see the faces on people when they’re walking through the store. It’s a lot of fun and we made a lot of sales tonight,” Luevano said.
Her sentiment was echoed by another small business owner, Kayla Dotson, whose store, Odds & Ends, was located on the next block. Dotson is one of the main organizers of the street fair event which includes the live music, live art, food, cars shows, people dressed as movie characters and face painting.
Although her store specializes in furniture, Dotson said she also offers an assortment of items including handmade items and vinyl records. “People who came to the event also came inside the store. It’s good exposure and we do get sales during the event.”
As increased traffic and sales benefited store owners, the children set their minds on the animated movie characters who greeted and encouraged little one to have their photos taken with them.
Lily Zabala brought her two-year-old son, Ezra, to Main Street. “I’m here to support my little sister who is playing ‘Fiona’ and to see what the community has to offer,” Zabala said. Little Ezra held up his hands to his father, Joshua Rodriguez, who picked him up to be closer to Fiona, a character from the animated movie “Shrek.”