The Community Environmental Council kicked off the annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival on Saturday which drew crowds in the thousands to Alameda Park.
Over the weekend, the park was filled corner to corner with festival zones including vendor booths, bike valet, entertainment stages, food court, beer and wine garden, green car show and kid’s corner.
These zones were filled with different food, drinks, shops, games, entertainment centered around local eco-friendly alternatives and solutions.
“This is our first year back in the park after COVID since 2019,” said Christine DeVries of the CEC, adding, “2020 and 2021 were virtual, 2022 was at the Arlington and now we’re back.”
Eco Market Place and the food court featured local vendors with a focus on environmentally friendly food, clothing, and other products.
“I came up here for the food, clothes, and I like environmental causes,” said Gio Recinos, a Ventura resident who drove up to experience the festival for himself.
The park also hosted booths for environmentally-minded organizations and companies.
Super Bee Rescue and Removal, a for-profit beekeeping company that specializes in bee removal, had a booth set up selling their prize-winning honey and spreading awareness of their services and mission in the county.
“The bees are suffering from parasites, pesticides, and poor nutrition. There’s a lot of learning that goes on afterwards its very broad and very deep subject,” owner Nick Wigle said.
The Community Environmental Council, with the help of Cultivate Events and Santa Barbara County Food Action Network, put the Hometown Roots area together as a larger learning experience of where our food comes from and how it can be sustainable by bringing together local food organizations and setting up the Roots Stage in the zone for entertaining and educational presentations.
The Green Car Show and Bike Valet were two fixtures of the event that shed a light on the growing strides in green transportation.
The car show was a showcase on the advancements that car companies have made to making electric vehicles attractive and accessible, and the bike valet encouraged festivalgoers to use bicycles around the city to reduce carbon emissions.
The Kid’s Corner and Entertainment Stage had fun for the whole family with live performances, a rock-climbing wall, interactive children’s activities, and demonstrations.
“It’s like free childcare” said Nick, a single dad and Santa Barbara resident who brought his daughter to enjoy some of the free activities and fun in the park.
On Sunday, the festival hosted actress and lifelong environmental activist Jane Fonda presenting the CEC’s Environmental Hero Awards to Nalleli Cobo and Cesar Aguirre.
Ernesto Centeno Araujo is a Noozhawk contributing writer and UC Santa Barbara student.