Staff report

The Santa Ynez Valley Healthy Eating Active Living Coalition (SYV HEAL) announced that it has been granted a permit by the City of Buellton to conduct an Open Streets Festival on Sunday, Oct. 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will be held on Avenue of Flags which will be, for the most part, closed to traffic for the day.

On an Open Street, people traffic replaces car traffic, and streets become places where people of all ages, abilities and background can come out, and find ways to improve their health. Community members gather, socialize, walk, run, bike, skate, dance or participate in other activities on selected local streets temporarily closed to motorized traffic. It is free and offers the community the opportunity to experience their city streets in a whole new way. It is anticipated that this will be an annual fall event in different/rotating locations within the Santa Ynez Valley.

Over the past few years, there have been a number of successful Open Streets events held in Santa Barbara County in Santa Maria, Guadalupe, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria. According to SYV HEAL members, the event, intended to be family friendly, will occupy three median strips and roadway on Avenue of Flags in Buellton.  

The City of Buellton has agreed to secure the area from and reroute traffic as necessary and furnish the SYV HEAL team with logistical support. Security will be supplied by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and private security engaged by SYV HEAL. Buellton Mayor Holly Sierra said that the city enthusiastically embraced the idea of Open Streets and hosting the first one in the valley.

Dean Palius of People Helping People and Tommy Spiedel of the Gildred Family YMCA, Co-Conveners of the local SYV HEAL coalition, said that they expect to obtain the participation of a wide range of businesses and organizations promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles, recreation and sports, foods and cooking, art, music, dance, and diverse cultures appealing to all ages, from young children to seniors, and abilities. Live music and other entertainment are will also be provided all day. 

The SYV HEAL Coalition is currently operating under the non-profit umbrella of People Helping People which is providing administrative and fiscal support and oversight to the Coalition and Open Streets. Other members of the Coalition include the Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA, Santa Barbara Bike Coalition, SYV Wellness Collective, City of Buellton, Solvang Chamber of Commerce, City of Solvang, SYV Cottage Hospital, Veggie Rescue, Marina Musante, County of Santa Barbara, and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG).

With its City of Buellton permit in hand, Open Streets promoters are actively soliciting additional sponsors at levels from $15,000 to just $500. For more information or a list of sponsor opportunities, contact Dean Palius at or (805) 686-0295 x108. 

Palius said that “Open Streets is expected to be a well-attended event with many vendors, booths, entertainers, activities, and food.  With so many moving parts, our Coalition has decided to hire a professional event coordinator. The request for proposals for event coordinators is available from the coalition at