Staff Report

The Santa Ynez Valley Healthy Eating Active Living (SYV HEAL) Coalition will conduct an Open Streets Festival in October 2020 on Buellton’s Avenue of Flags, which will be closed to traffic for most of that day.

At an Open Street event, pedestrian traffic replaces car traffic and streets become places where people of all ages, abilities and background can 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. The free event offers the community the opportunity to experience their city streets in a whole new way.

Organizers hope the festival will become an annual event in rotating locations in the Santa Ynez Valley. Next year’s event will be the first Open Streets Festival in the valley, but over the past few years, there have been a number of successful Open Streets events held in Santa Maria, Guadalupe, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.

The Buellton event, intended to be family friendly, will occupy three median strips and the roadway on Avenue of Flags.

Dean Palius of People Helping People and Tommy Spiedel of the Gildred Family YMCA, co-conveners of the local 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 operating under the nonprofit 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, Santa Barbara County, and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG).

SBCAG has signed on as the event’s first “Motivator” level sponsor by investing $10,000. Open Streets promoters are soliciting additional sponsors at levels from $15,000 to $500. For more information or a list of sponsor opportunities, contact Dean Palius at or (805) 686-0295 x108.

The request for proposals for event coordinators is available from the coalition at