Downtown Fresno Day Trip

Posted by Veronica Stumpf

My mom was born and raised in Fresno. When she was a child, she attended the opening day of the Fulton Mall in 1964. It was big treat to spend all day, with her mom, shopping on the Mall.

Fast-forwarding to 2012, my mom hadn’t stepped foot on the Mall since the early 1980s. She lives out in the country of Clovis. My mom’s hobbies include creating sculptures out of discarded items and reading obituaries of inspiring people.

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Back in early December of 2012, my mom wanted to take a “day trip” to downtown Fresno. I decided take her to some of my favorite downtown spots and to a few Christmas events.

She was thrilled about our visit! “I’m declaring today my Small Business Saturday,” she said, “I don’t want to be cheap!” The official Small Business Saturday was three weeks prior but there’s nothing wrong with supporting small businesses any ol’ day.

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My mom was part of the Christmas parade when she was a young girl. She never made plans to visit the parade since. I told her we were going to visit Fresno Brewing Company (1243 Fulton Mall) but I did not tell her the parade ran on the Fulton Mall. We enjoyed coffee, a cinnamon bun, conversation with friendly strangers, all while and watching the parade from the pub’s window. She was surprised by how busy it was. Her only complaint was the vast number of Santa Clauses. “What do you tell the kids?!” she asked.

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We ran into several downtown enthusiasts. I introduced my mom to a few downtown ambassadors, as well as David Holland, the events coordinator for the Pacific Southwest Building (1060 Fulton Mall). David was kind enough to give us a tour of the historic building. It was my mom’s first time stepping foot inside the bank vault and the Banker’s Ballroom.  “I like your quirky friends,” my mom said, after introducing her to everyone.

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We walked to Warnors Center (1432 Fulton St.) to shop at Misc. Trading Co. and Twee Boutique. My mom gave me a history lesson (aka long rant) about a time when the City tore down some of downtown’s most beautiful buildings to make room for parking lots. Warnors Theatre nearly missed that fate. “It’s people like you who have to preserve the history of your hometown,” she advised me.

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My mom yelled out, “Cute!” to everything she saw in the Misc. and Twee. She even spoiled me with a few early Christmas presents!  We also shopped at the Rummage Sale, in the former Nabisco Building (1919 E St.), in search for hidden gems she could use for her sculptures

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We went to Come & Get It! Chicken & Waffles (1342 Tulare St.), for lunch. The restaurant was scheduled to close by the end of the month, so it was busy with people wanting to get one last bite. “This would not be a good place to eat on a first date,” my mom said as we waited for our food, “you would be forced to actually talk to your date.”  The wait was long but well worth it.

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For dinner, we went to CArtHop’s former location at the outdoor ice rink. It reminded my mom of a spread in Sunset Magazine. After she got over the initial shock that Fresnans know how to skate, she said the ice rink was a great idea to bring people to the Mall. The ice rink was packed with families; it reminded her of when it was common to see families on the Mall in the 1960s.

We spent over eight hours in downtown and, yet, I didn’t cross off half of the places I wanted to visit!  My mom’s final verdict of downtown – “I didn’t have a reason to come till now. I love downtown!”

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