CLOVER PARK — Residents will be asked to “revel with a cause” this Saturday at the 18th Annual Santa Monica Festival, one of the city’s largest gatherings in which people of all ages and backgrounds celebrate the rich cultural history of the city by the sea, its businesses and the environment with the goal of inspiring people to live healthier and more sustainable lives.
The event, which kicks off at 11 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m., attracts thousands to Clover Park — 2600 Ocean Park Blvd. — where there are scores of booths set up by local non-profits, artisans and city staff, as well as plenty of fresh food to sample from local restaurants.
There will also be workshops on how to create the latest Earth-friendly fashions using recycled materials, write poetry or create a piece of visual art in response to environmental issues, and how to garden with compost.
For the second year in a row the festival will be zero waste, with all power for the event being generated on-site using solar panels and other clean sources of energy. All food not consumed will be recycled or composted. Biodegradable forks and plates will be used. New in 2009 is the ban on plastic bags and bottles, with attendees being encouraged to bring their own reusable bags and bottles. Reusable water bottles can be purchased at the festival. Guests will also be able to recycle old cell phones and other small electronics courtesy of California Recycles.
For the first time ever City Hall has purchased carbon offsets from CarbonFund.org to cover anticipated transportation for deliveries and guests. Zero Waste Zones will be set up throughout the park to educate festival goers and to minimize trash going into landfills.
“This an opportunity to showcase our commitment to the arts and culture and the environment,” Jessica Cusick, director of cultural affairs for City Hall, said of the festival, which costs roughly $120,000 to produce, the majority of which comes from City Hall. “We as a city truly believe that sustainability is both about the environment and the vibrant culture of Santa Monica, and I mean that in the broadest sense of the word. It’s not just the arts, but the diversity of people we have here, the different ages, diverse point of views. It’s really an opportunity to celebrate that.”
Residents are encouraged to arrive on foot or by bicycle or bus. There will be bike valets on hand to park your bike in a safe, convenient place. Big Blue Bus Line 8 serves Clover Park and stops at 25th Street on Ocean Park Boulevard. Free parking is available for those who drive. Those thinking of attending can also ride share by visiting RideAmigos.com.
Event planners expect 10,000 to 20,000 people. And it’s free, except for the food.
There will also be a free raffle where participants can win prizes such as VIP passes to the Twilight Dance Series at the Santa Monica Pier and tickets to a production at the Broad Stage.
This year, the headliner is Los Angeles’ own The Little Ones, an upbeat indie pop bad featuring a bright sound made for dancing. The five band members have been playing together since early 2006. Their influences include the Beach Boys and The Zombies. Other performers on the main Ocean Stage include Agua Libre, performing Afro-Latin sounds, hop hop, soul, funk and reggae; Glank, a percussion performance art group that creates complex rhythms on instruments made of found objects; and Masanga Marimba, presenting traditional and popular music and dance from Zimbabwe and Latin America.
The master of ceremonies is Boise Thomas, host of Adrian Grenier’s “Alter Eco,” an environmentally-focused lifestyle show on Discovery’s new channel Planet Green. In addition to emceeing, Boise will share tips on how to be smart with your time, money and resources.
At the Youth Stage, the Santa Monica College Chamber Choir will present popular chorale repertoire from the Renaissance to today, followed by a performance by the Morgan-Wixson’s Y.E.S. Children’s Theatre Co. and the Lincoln Middle School Jazz Band.
When it comes to choosing musical guests, Cusick said she looks for artists who are under the radar.
“We want something undiscovered, something new and something fresh and something hot,” Cusick said. “Last year we had Dengue Fever and since then they’ve become huge. We want a whole variety of experiences because I think that really reflects the eclectic, interesting culture of Santa Monica.”
The festival is presented by the Cultural Affairs Division and the Environmental and Public Works Department at City Hall.