Following the family fitness goal of Open Streets, young children participate in a foot race.
Following the family fitness goal of Open Streets, young children participate in a foot race. Credit: Courtesy photo

Nearly a mile of Avenue of Flags in Buellton will be car-free on May 21 as part of the first Open Streets event for the greater Santa Ynez Valley.

The Santa Ynez Valley Healthy Eating Active Living Coalition (HEAL) will host Open Streets, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Avenue of Flags.

The event will be featured as part of CycleMAYnia in Santa Barbara County. CycleMAYnia is a month-long celebration with activities and events during National Bike Month. The celebration reaches thousands of cyclists and community members throughout May, led by Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) Traffic Solutions Division.

Santa Ynez Valley Open Streets is made possible through the support of the city of Buellton, Measure A Santa Barbara County’s Transportation Sales Tax Measure, and local sponsors including Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Cottage Health, Visit Santa Ynez Valley, Buellton Chamber of Commerce, and Solvang Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re incredibly excited to bring this event to the Santa Ynez Valley,” said Valerie Kissell, CEO of People Helping People and the fiscal sponsor for the HEAL Coalition.

“We have had to move the date of the event, but the city of Buellton in re-scheduling has been incredibly supportive and we look forward to the community coming out and supporting this inaugural event,” Kissell said.

A supporter of Open Streets events in Santa Barbara County, County Supervisor Joan Hartmann said, “While our streets and roads often prioritize motorized vehicles, Open Streets events remind us that our streets and roads are public spaces that can be repurposed to promote active transportation, such as walking and biking.

“These public spaces can also bring people together to celebrate and showcase all the great things that promote health and wellness. “

Buellton will shut down a nearly mile-long section of Avenue of the Flags, from Damasa to State Route 246, to vehicles and open it up for pedestrians and bikers to enjoy.

The festivities will include street music, family friendly-physical fitness activities, and wellness-themed activities hosted by local businesses and organizations.

There is still time to sign up to sponsor or participate in the Open Streets event. Organizers anticipate more than 2,000 attendees will attend the new event.

“Business organizations and community members can still sponsor the event or sign up to bring a fun activity or contest,” said Kissell.

Those interested in signing up to sponsor or participate as a vendor in Open Streets can learn more by visiting

Open Streets events all share a common goal of promoting community wellness by creating safe and temporary car-free spaces on streets and roads, opening them up as a public park for a day.

SBCAG’s Traffic Solutions Division has hosted or supported community-led events across the county including in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Lompoc, Guadalupe and Carpinteria.

For more, visit, contact Zohe Felici, or call 805-895-3402.