Sunday, February 26 , 2017, 12:31 pm | Partly Cloudy 55º


Local News

Local Bites, Bikes Abound at Santa Barbara’s 44th Earth Day Festival

Annual two-day Community Environmental Council-sponsored event continues Sunday at Alameda Park

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The number of orange stickers placed on a plastic-covered map of Santa Barbara steadily grew Saturday afternoon, as local bicyclists used dry-erase markers to map their routes — along with all-too prevalent problem areas.

“The Mission (Street) is not good,” an avid cyclist said, providing input for an interactive effort in its first year at the annual Earth Day Festival in Alameda Park.

The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition was collecting the information for bike master plans to be adopted by South Coast cities in coming months and years.

Attendees then filled out postcards identifying issues and addressed them to appropriate municipal or Santa Barbara County officials.

The coalition also offered free valet bike parking, as well as bike tune-ups — services that will continue Sunday at the two-day event.

A strengthening of the partnership between the bike coalition and the Community Environmental Council, which has organized the Santa Barbara Earth Day festival for more than 40 years, was a key component of this year’s event, said Sigrid Wright, festival director with the CEC.

Hundreds of handpicked food and other vendor booths protected themselves against Saturday’s wind, many thankful that Friday night’s rain didn’t stick around.

Wright was among the grateful, since this year’s festivities included a new pop-up farm-to-table dinner.

Under the theme “Local Roots,” she said the dinner — with a sold-out guest list of 130 — would commence once the festival ended Saturday. It featured lines of plastic tables, four-course fare from Buellton-based New West Catering and a wine-pairing portion.

“We’re looking at all the things that make a building block of a community, and that includes food,” Wright said.

She said more than 2,000 volunteer hours went into the event, which also boasted the largest public green car show again this year.

Locals perused or test-drove some of the more than 40 hybrid and eco-friendly vehicles, including a BMW i3 — a new electric car not yet officially released.

Back at the bike route map, orange stickers covered the Highway 101 underpass at Castillo Street as a risky area.

If places like that were fixed, more locals might ride bikes because statistics show that 60 percent of residents want to cycle more but might be afraid, said Sam Franklin, bicycle coalition program coordinator.

“Instead of telling people what could be better, we want the community to tell us,” he said.

The Earth Day festival continues from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Alameda Park, 1400 Santa Barbara St. Click here for more information.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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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