On Saturday, students, families and other Isla Vista residents gathered in the heart of town in celebration of this year’s fourth annual Pardall Carnival.
Isla Vistans flocked to the small beach community’s central street for a day of free games, prizes, rides and food offered by various participating local businesses. Various student groups from the Office of Student Life and Associated Students — including the festival’s leading organization, the Office of the External Vice President of Local Affairs — teamed up to host the event. The festival also showcased traditional carnival attractions, including a small Ferris wheel, two bounce houses, an inflatable obstacle course, a dunk tank and a number of student-hosted games.
While last year’s event spread the activities throughout neighboring parks, this weekend’s carnival centralized all games within Pardall Road itself and also saw a bigger turnout, according to Elizabeth Akman, external chair of Isla Vista Community Relations Committee.
“We had more people there, more food to give out and we had more prizes,” Akman said. “We tried to keep it all in one area … it was definitely a conscious decision. Something that I wanted to do since day one was keep everything on the street — it is called Pardall Carnival.”
According to External Vice President of Local Affairs Rhandy Siordia, the festival’s primary goal is to unite students with other Isla Vista residents, like families, since these two populations may not otherwise have a chance to share a space and interact with one another.
Siordia said this year’s event succeeded in this respect since there appeared to be an increase in the number of non-student attendees, particularly Isla Vista children, who especially enjoyed joining in carnival activities like riding the Ferris wheel.
“I feel that we had a lot more non-student community members that attended … I saw a lot of children,” Siordia said. “It brings the students and non-students together to get to know one another and network. … I feel like sometimes students do not remember the families in I.V. or acknowledge that they’re there, which is sad.”
The carnival also benefits local businesses, who receive free advertising through event t-shirts distributed by IVCRC and usually see increased revenue from the large flow of attendees, according to Akman.
Silvergreens, Sam’s To Go and I.V. Drip all sponsored the event and contributed free food, Akman said.
IVCRC Internal Chair Megan Smith said the organization collaborated with the Santa Barbara County Sherriff’s Department to ensure that necessary precautions were taken to keep the event safe.
“We didn’t have any problems and everything went smoothly and businesses on that street seemed to be really busy, which is good because we’re always trying to support our local businesses,” Smith said. “We worked really closely with the County Sherriff before the event. They were really awesome because they had great control over the event.”
Akman credits the event’s success to months of preparation by members of the several participating groups.
“The hardest part about planning the carnival was that it’s like the second week of school so a lot of the planning takes place during the summer,” Akman said. “It’s hard when a lot of people are not in town and we’re not always able to bring everyone together.”