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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 7:03 pm | Fair 58º


Jewish Heritage Celebrated with Sun, Fun at Santa Barbara’s Annual Jewish Festival

Throngs of visitors, artisans, vendors and food booths pack Oak Park for Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara's extravaganza

Thousands of people flocked to Oak Park on Sunday to eat, drink, and get lost in joyous tunes at the 2013 Jewish Festival.

The sunny day and warm temperatures, 10 performers, 10 artisan and vendor booths, and nine food booths all combined to provide fun for all ages. The annual festival is hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara and celebrates Israel’s 65th Independence Day and the local Jewish community.

“It was a bigger festival than last year,” said Christine Howard, a festival organizer.

Howard said last year’s Jewish Festival drew approximately 4,000 visitors, and she estimated this year’s crowd to be the same size. She added that last year’s large attendance led the Jewish Federation and Felici Events to seek more booths and vendors for this year’s festival.

“Last year we only had two food vendors, and they were great, but this year we wanted more,” said Howard. “We had really huge lines last year and we wanted to break that up and get more people involved.”

Scattered around the park were various dining options, including barbecue meals from Georgia’s Smokehouse Food Truck, treats from Kd’s Gluten-Free Bakery and McConnell’s Ice Cream.

“None of them are strictly Jewish cuisine, but they all put together kosher menus,” Howard said of the festival’s the food vendors.

The B’nai B’rith Lodge at Congregation B’nai B’rith Santa Barbara provided beer and the Santa Ynez Valley Jewish Community supplied wine in the beer and wine garden next to the main stage. Last year, guests were allowed to drink freely around the park, but Howard said this year’s garden, with its opportune placement, worked out well.

Choirs, bands and ensembles hailing from various genres, and two UC Santa Barbara musical groups served up the entertainment for the day. Guests could also learn Israeli dancing in the late afternoon.

Noozhawk intern Kelsey Gripenstraw can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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