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‘Rockin’ Fig’ brings vintage surf festival to Huntington Beach on Saturday

Announcer Rick "Rockin' Fig" Fignetti
Announcer Rick “Rockin’ Fig” Fignetti conducts the costume contest at the Surf City Splash on Jan. 1. Fignetti is behind the first Rockin Fig Vintage Surf Festival, which takes places Saturday in downtown Huntington Beach.
(Spencer Grant)

Rick Fignetti has made an indelible mark on the surfing community as a surfer, U.S. Open of Surfing announcer and owner of “Rockin’ Fig Surf Headquarters” on Main Street in Huntington Beach.

When Surf City officials came to him asking him about possible events, the Surfing Walk of Fame member had some feedback.

“A lot of the events don’t even really pertain to us,” Fignetti said. “You get some car, comic book, Marvel-type deal, you know what I mean, and that’s really not the clientele of a lot of the merchants down here. I just said, ‘You ought to do something cool that relates to everybody in Surf City, Huntington Beach.’ Maybe something with vintage surfboards, Hawaiian style ... A few days later they came back to me and said, ‘Hey, we want to do it.’”

Fignetti and the Huntington Beach Downtown Business Improvement District combined to shape the first Rockin’ Fig Vintage Surf Festival, which takes place Saturday from 12-5 p.m. on the third block of Main Street between Olive and Orange avenues.

Businesses on the third block will be participating and offering special shopping and dining offers. Vintage surfboards will be on display, a Hawaiian priest will come down to bless the event and the Surf City Go-Go Girls will be dancing, Fignetti said.

The city plans on making it an annual event.

“The third block on the [COVID-19] shutdown hasn’t really been doing that well,” Fignetti said. “I mean, it was doing OK during the summer, but it’s been a little slow. I thought maybe a nice little promo like this could bring some people down and make it like a little party, Surf City style ... It just sounds like a day full of fun. Break out your Aloha shirt, and maybe get a discount on food or beverage. Everybody’s embracing it, a lot more than I thought. It’s not for me; it’s for all of us.”

Robert Handy, who has been the Huntington Beach Police Department chief since 2013, plans to leave law enforcement by the end of the month.

Susie Smith, owner of Makin’ Waves Salon next door to Fignetti’s business, said she will have Hawaiian flower hair accessories and other Hawaiian items for retail sale for the surf festival.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Smith said. “I think the best thing about it is just honoring the history of what Main Street was built on, surfing. Sometimes with all of the new stuff, I think that gets a little filtered out, so it’s nice to do something that’s considered vintage.”

Fignetti said social distancing and mask use will be mandatory at the festival, of course. The Orange County Health Care Agency reported 19 new deaths due to COVID-19 Wednesday, bringing the county death toll to 1,360 people during the pandemic. Ten of Wednesday’s deaths were skilled nursing facility residents, and two were assisted living facility residents.

“Wear your mask, that’s for sure, but I feel like maybe people are ready to get out a little bit more,” Fignetti said. “We’ll see what happens. Hopefully 10,000 people or 100,000 people don’t show up, but if we have a small crowd that keeps on coming and going it seems like we’ll have a fun day.”

There were 213 daily positive COVID-19 tests reported Wednesday, and the cumulative case total now sits at 56,283. There are 160 patients currently in the hospital, including 60 in the intensive care unit.

Below are the coronavirus case counts and deaths for select cities in Orange County:

  • Santa Ana: 10,789 cases; 298 deaths
  • Anaheim: 9,605 cases; 294 deaths
  • Huntington Beach: 2,490 cases; 78 deaths
  • Costa Mesa: 1,904 cases; 36 deaths
  • Irvine: 1,770 cases; 13 deaths
  • Newport Beach: 1,180 cases; 25 deaths
  • Fountain Valley: 531 cases; 18 deaths
  • Laguna Beach: 236 cases; fewer than five deaths

Here are the case counts by age group, followed by deaths:

  • 0 to 17: 4,081 cases; one death
  • 18 to 24: 8,486 cases; four deaths
  • 25 to 34: 12,060 cases; 20 deaths
  • 35 to 44: 8,944 cases; 37 deaths
  • 45 to 54: 9,113 cases; 111 deaths
  • 55 to 64: 6,749 cases; 192 deaths
  • 65 to 74: 3,376 cases; 271 deaths
  • 75 to 84: 1,909 cases; 293 deaths
  • 85 and older: 1,515 cases; 431 deaths

Updated figures are posted daily at occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc. For information on getting tested, visit occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-testing.

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