(photo by City Of Santa Monica)

CLOVER PARK — The rhythms of bossa nova will blend with the aromas of vegetarian cuisine and possibly the whir of a blender powered by a stationary bike at the 21st Annual Santa Monica Festival this Saturday at Clover Park.

The event celebrates the connections between the business, art and sustainability sectors of the city by the sea and will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Organizers are expecting about 7,500 to 9,000 people to attend.

“One of the main themes of this festival is bringing the community together,” said Allison Ostrovsky, cultural affairs supervisor for City Hall.

Attendees can explore several themed areas, including the Eco Zone, where local organizations will show residents how to incorporate environmentally minded actions into daily living, and the Marketplace, which will feature Earth-friendly products from independent vendors.

The Food Salon — one of last year’s most popular attractions — has expanded and includes a culinary stage where two local chefs will take on the Chef’s Challenge. This activity will test their ability to make an easy and affordable dish in 15 minutes, with ingredients from the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, Ostrovsky said.

Other highlights include cooking demonstrations for salads, wraps and tacos, in addition to a discussion about City Hall’s push for Meatless Mondays, a global initiative that encourages individuals to cut back on meat based on its environmental impact and the health benefits of a more vegetarian diet.

A cookbook workshop will enable attendees to learn about the recipes used in the demonstrations and test them at home.

“Our whole focus would be how to create affordable and sustainable meals,” Ostrovsky said. “We just wanted to have a lot of elements and a practical, take-away theme.”

Festival-goers can also sample fare from various food trucks, like Border Grill’s modern Mexican cuisine and Waffles de Liege.

In contrast to the food sector, the Active Santa Monica area will offer 20 minute classes in activities like Zumba, yoga, gymnastics and world dance. The Annenberg Community Beach House will also be on hand for demonstrations of stand-up paddleboarding and beach volleyball.

Bicycle enthusiasts can visit Bike Zone, which will offer tips on bike repair, maintenance and safe riding, along with handling and rodeo skills.

As part of the push for sustainability, the festival will offer a free bike valet. Festival-goers who take Metro can present their Metro pass or Metro rail ticket at the information booth to receive a free raffle ticket for a chance to win a bicycle or other prizes. Bicyclists will also receive a free raffle ticket if they use the valet on 25th Street at Ocean Park Boulevard.

Admission is free.

For more information about the festival, visit www.smgov.net/festival.


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