Festive starfish lights brighten up downtown Encinitas for the holidays


For the first time in many years, visitors to Downtown Encinitas will enjoy festive holiday lighting. The lights are in the form of coastal-themed starfish that adorn the light poles for several blocks of S. Coast Hwy 101 through downtown.

Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association took the initiative to design the starfish lights after Director Thora Guthrie saw similar lights on a trip to Oregon.

Local artist Danny Salzhandler fabricated 30 of the starfish shapes, then teams of E101 staff and volunteers wired and wrapped LED rope lights onto the frames. Then Salzhandler volunteered to install the starfish onto the old-style lamp posts from Encinitas Blvd. to F Street.

The cost of the project was approximately $10,000, half what it would cost to purchase similar lights from a commercial lighting company.

I hear every day how people love the starfish!” said Guthrie, adding, “Some people want to see them to stay up all year long.”

Guthrie has been seeking sponsors to help cover the cost of the lights, and to add more lights and garlands next year. She says she is grateful for sponsors, which, to date include Soulscape, Encinitas Rotary, Charlie’s Foreign Car, Harrison Properties, Peter Curry, and Webb Cleff Architecture. She is also thankful that the City of Encinitas has agreed to store the lights when they come down.

According to Guthrie, sponsorships of any size are welcome. $400 adopts an entire starfish for years to come, which includes a “gift tag” that hangs with the star with the sponsor name.

Why starfish? Guthrie said that they just seemed like the right choice for Encinitas, festive but non-denominational, and the tale of saving the starfish made them seem even more appropriate. The story illustrates how positive change can be made through seemingly insignificant acts.

-Press release submitted by Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association