May 17, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Festival:

Still going after 19 years, this year’s Santa Monica Festival, held at Clover Park on May 8, combined the pleasures of a music festival, environmental exhibit, outdoor market, kid’s carnival, and a bit of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire.

Welcoming attendees at the Ocean Stage, emcee Boise Thomas joked that “we expect thunderstorms and hail in about three hours,” The beautiful morning however, was a fine setting for the City and the Santa Monica Bay Relations Council’s Heroes Awards for volunteers.

City Council Mayor Pro Tem Pam O’ Connor introduced the recipients, “people who quietly work each day to make our city a better place to live and work.” These heroes were Jeanne Laurie, volunteer with the Westside Food Bank; Ann Buck, volunteer with CLARE Foundation; the volunteers of Our House Grief Center; Kathy Knight, leader in the fight to save Ballona Wetlands; Charlie Yen, volunteer at SMC; and Colleen Hughes and her seizure alert dog Oscar and Joan Colman and her therapy dog Grace, volunteers for the America Reads program at the Santa Monica Police Activities League.

Over at the Living Library area, the Santa Monica Library offered festival-goers half-hour chats with “living books,” people with stories to tell.

Paul Kovich’s Living Book was Allen Bayliss, attorney and “Naturalist” (better known to most of us as a “nudist”). Bayliss told Kovich about legal struggles by nudists against ordinances and people who complain about being “offended” by nudists.

“I’m enjoying this,” said Kovich. “It’s like reading a book, only the book is a living person to whom I can ask questions.”

Children and their parents engaged in several arts and crafts workshops, among them 18th Street Arts Center’s “High Performance Playground.” Here, kids made costumes with cloth scraps, paper, colored markers, shiny foil, and other “recyclables,” in keeping with the eco-conscious theme of the Festival.

Event organizer and artist Marcus Kuiland-Nazario explained that the costumes made by the kids were inspired by old issues of High Performance magazine. He was teaching the children about performance art because “if we train kids in performance art, they will give support to the arts in the future.”

Entertainment on the two solar-powered stages offered some of the best acts seen in recent years. Gaelic Gathering, on the Ocean Stage, performed Irish music complete with pipes, tin whistle, and Irish jigs. The Elemental Strings, a string orchestra of fourth and fifth graders, served up unusual versions of familiar compositions by Beethoven and Mozart. The Living Sisters, Becky Stark, Eleni Mandell, and Alex Lilly, enchanted with their folksy harmonies. On the Youth Stage, Rising Phoenix Morris, a group of female dancers, demonstrated the old English Morris Dance, while “Ballroom Madness” with instructor Danny Ponickly featured youngsters coupled off and dancing everything from the Meringue to the Fox-Trot.

No description of the Santa Monica Festival would be complete without mentioning the many environmental exhibits including Sustainable Works’ Mini Green Living Workshops, the reusable bag decorating workshop presented by Rosie’s Girls and Green Vets, and the dual trash containers found all over Clover Park-some labeled “Compostables” (food scraps) and others “Recyclables.” Most people were complying with this way of disposing of trash.

And thanks to Chobani Greek style Yogurt for all those free samples! The non-fat yogurt with fruit on the bottom was a delicious dessert whether it followed tamales, hot dogs, spicy chicken, or Spam Musubi.


LYNNE BRONSTEIN

Mirror Contributing Writerlynne@smmirror.com

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