About 600 people, many dressed in costumes of animals, danced and sang along the San Lorenzo River during the Ebb & Flow Kinetic Art Parade and River Arts Celebration at the Tannery Arts Center on Saturday afternoon.
The event, which started with a parade from the Kaiser Permante Arena to the Tannery, included live music and interactive educational games for children interested in learning about their natural surroundings
Santa Cruz band SambaDá played Afro-Samba funk and dance tunes as a crowd of about 50 danced in front of the stage at the Tannery. Sound engineer Guy Swan said the event is a reminder of the importance of environmental stewardship during a precarious political climate. “Every day, it’s more important to become aware of our natural environment,” Swan said as he monitored the band’s sound. During the parade before the festival, participants joined in dance performances with a cadre of river characters and creative installations, such as windsocks shaped like steelhead and coho salmon.
Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center Executive Director Cat Willis said the event allowed artists to celebrate the natural sources of their creativity. “Anytime you bring artists together to inspire and engage, magic happens,” Willis said as she watched the band’s performance.
Singer Dandha Da Hora, of SambaDá, danced casually as her clear voice rang out before the crowd of many ages. G Freeman of Santa Cruz watched the performance, which he said is an example of the city’s diverse forms of entertainment "'Events like this are inspiring and fun,” Freeman said.
A man wearing a feathery blue costume with sequins who called himself Blue Heron said he is an improvisational actor who was spending the day interacting with families about river stewardship.
Daniel Casella of Corralitos walked with his 5-year-old son, Robin, during a treasure hunt. During the hunt, children checked in with characters, such as the “Frog” and “Blue Heron”, to help track treasures.