Hundreds of fairgoers filled Seville Road Saturday, where farm animals and Isla Vista residents cavorted at the second annual Co-op Country Fair.
Hosted by the Isla Vista Food Co-op, the event featured live music, a baking contest, pumpkin carving, a benefit barbeque and a fat pig named Hami. Taking the place of cars, there were booths that showed-off locally grown produce while others presented information on gardening and composting.
Co-op manager Melissa Cohen said the fair was an opportunity for Isla Vista to come together.
“It’s become a safe space for the entire community to come out and play,” Cohen said. “There aren’t many events that bring together students, families, out-of-Isla-Vistans and the older generations. Yesterday was a true example of what can happen when people come together for unselfish reasons and with no pretense.”
Patrick Griffin, a junior at Santa Barbara City College, said he enjoyed the live music, especially because the musicians played live from a stage in the middle of the street.
“My favorite part of today was the pig, [but] now it’s the banjo,” Griffin said as he watched the live performance. “They’re playing Radiohead, and I think that’s fantastic.”
According to Cohen, the fair was first imagined as a way for Co-op owners to gather for an annual meeting, but it quickly evolved into a community event.
“What’s happened is that we’ve realized that this event is one of the truest forms of a community-inspired event that I.V. has ever seen,” Cohen said.
Ricky Roderiguez, a 20-year-old Isla Vista resident who attended the event, echoed that same sentiment.
“I think the Co-op is doing a really good job at building community in Isla Vista,” Roderiguez said. “Events like this really make it a place where like minded people can come together and have a good time, listen to good music, and utilize really good resources.”
Cohen said volunteer efforts from local organizations were critical to the fair’s success. Tents and hay bales were provided by local farm Fairview Gardens, as well as La Casa de la Raza, a Latino community group.
“From beginning to end, setup to cleanup, we had so many volunteers and staff helping to make it happen,” Cohen said.