The first annual Isla Vista “Meet Your Neighbors Day” was held throughout I.V. this past Saturday and drew hundreds of students and community members to various parks in the area.
The event began with activities in nine neighborhood parks, featured free food from local businesses and provided attendees with information about safety and community-building in I.V. Attendees from each park then gathered at Anisq’Oyo’ Park around 4 p.m. for a gathering that showcased local bands and a DJ and allowed festival attendees to present flags representing their specific areas of I.V.
I.V. Recreation and Parks District festival organizer Paola De La Cruz said the event was not exclusive to students and extended its reach to all I.V. residents.
“People have been brought together by seeing the community come together,” De La Cruz said. “There’s been a mix of family and students.”
Monte-Angel Richardson, an I.V. Parks and Recreation District director, said Meet Your Neighbor Day showcased events highlighting I.V.’s varied demographic.
“The festival shows how diverse I.V. really is,” Richardson said. “It brings people together by proximity to meet their neighbors.”
Santa Barbara City College student Elliot Rebuck, who participated in the event, said community involvement is essential to forwarding causes such as his initiative to build a permanent skate park in I.V.
“The biggest challenges are funding for the parks and starting outreach for input on the cause,” Rebuck said. “The community plays a big part in choosing details and developing the vision of the park.”
The festival showcased local bands, a DJ, a rock wall courtesy of UCSB Adventure Programs, sports and games, tables from I.V. and UCSB organizations and businesses and various other activities to get members of the community familiar with their neighbors.