The Santa Monica Festival in Clover Park on May 20 was very … Santa Monica. The 21-year-old event celebrated the dynamic culture of the beach city with an array of gourmet food trucks, a stage of eclectic musical acts and performances, and plenty of arts, crafts and eco-friendly and educational booths.
For kids there were free games and activities, like ladder ball; interactive yoga, fitness and dance demonstrations; and lots of crafts tables to make cool things with recycled and reclaimed materials, like a Wizard of Oz-style tree my son fashioned from a paper bag and colored paper scraps. A super fun feature for my son was the Santa Monica trash truck demonstration which allowed kids to sit in the cab to operate the mechanical arm and honk the horn. Of course there was also the play structure in the center of the park.
Even the minimalistic white booths and tents had an eco-clean look, with minimal signage and décor. Participants ranged from booths on Santa Monica destinations like Annenberg Community Beach House (who knew they have $1 Mondays?) and displays that shared tips on how to be sustainable, with a photo booth sponsored by SnapYourself, and information on the various arts and wellness programs in Santa Monica, and some that combine both, like reDiscover Centers Yoga & Art Camp. Everything was spaced out to allow for ample walking-about room as well as open grassy areas places where festival goers could hang out or picnic.
Food was a main attraction with a variety of food trucks, with everything from crepes and falafel sandwiches to shaved ice, and a stage show of Santa Monica’s best chefs, including Executive Chef Nyesha Arrington of Wilshire Restaurant, Executive Chef John-Carlos Kuramoto of Michael’s Santa Monica and Executive Chef Alex Moreno or Border Grill Santa Monica.
The event was a hit, well-attended, well-produced and held in an ideal venue that was spacious and well-suited for the event, complete with shady picnic tables and plenty of room to roam about, and the weather was made-to-order– a perfect sunny and warm Santa Monica summer afternoon with occasional cool crisp ocean breezes, all adding up to a great day, Santa Monica style.