As I walked about the Jacaranda Spring Thing festival on Cortez Hill this afternoon, I noticed an unusual critter hanging out near the Tweet Street park. Turns out it was a Rabbitville bunny!
Rabbitville is a public art project of the Gaslamp Quarter Association. Fifteen fiberglass rabbits are being painted creatively by local artists to represent the Gaslamp Quarter’s colorful history. The area in the mid 19th century was jokingly called Rabbitville because there seemed to be more rabbits than people.
New Town, established by Alonzo Horton, would ultimately become the location of today’s dynamic downtown. The revitalized Gaslamp, which includes an area that was once a red-light district called the Stingaree, is now a modern entertainment hub.
The rabbit I spotted is called Willabee and was created by artist Matt Forderer. It is the first rabbit of the Rabbitville Public Art project! Images painted on it include Horton Plaza’s historic Jessop’s Street Clock and the Gaslamp’s famous Louis Bank of Commerce Building, location of Wyatt Earp’s notorious Oyster Bar.
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Walking back toward downtown, I happened to stumble upon Bunnyfest on the grass at the south side of Balboa Park. It was a surprisingly large event with lots of booths and activities, put on by the San Diego House Rabbit Society. Rabbits were everywhere! Big rabbits, small rabbits, ordinary rabbits, exotic rabbits . . . rabbits of every kind and description! In arms, in pens, and featured on many great works of art! I watched for a moment while two girl volunteers trimmed the nails of a bunny. Here’s the photo.