Spring Fest, organized by the Mesa Architects and the Mesa Business Association, brought local artists, the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, and hundreds of people from the Mesa together (Saturday, May 8) for a day of music, art, environmental awareness, and community building. The frontage road at Cliff Drive and Meigs Road was transformed into a plaza for the day.
The event was a hit. There were children running around having a ball, and elderly couples grooving to the music. People from every walk were there, from families to barflies, to curious passerbys who couldn’t help but wonder about this roadside picnic.
Thirty-five local artists attended with booths and samples of their work, ranging from metallurgic concoctions, to bracelets, to paintings. The solar-carving Brian Chandler sat under the sun and carved an image into a stick with a white beam of light. The bicycle coalition was there to encourage the use of bikes, “mechanical horses,” as a fun and sustainable way to travel, as well as to promote CycleMAYnia, a series of organized bicycle events. The South Coast Watershed Resource Center came to raise awareness of the coastline and of the beach cleanup the following day. The Chumash Maritime Association was there with a face paint and the traditional tomol — a plank-built boat. Even Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider stopped by to celebrate.
According to their website, the Mesa Architects are a group dedicated to strengthening community, encouraging self-sufficiency, and promoting sustainability. They view the Mesa as a village amongst villages in Santa Barbara, and seek to improve the area, from reforming ineffective road designs to helping local businesses ally themselves.
There was a good balance of awareness uniting the community’s interests. It was encouraging to see so many seemingly disparate groups — from artists, to businesses men, to environmental proponents — converging and sharing the ground.