A day of food, entertainment and ideas will activate the streets of the Zaferia District June 7 as the 25th graduating class of Leadership Long Beach transforms the neighborhood into an interactive classroom with Idea Fest: Long Beach.
Classes focused on the history of punk music in Long Beach (Alex’s Bar), Chi Running (Orizaba Park) and even how to harness the power of good bugs in your garden (Gladys Urban Farm) are among the 30 topics of instruction that will be hosted by surrounding businesses.
“We were very thoughtful on the classes,” said Miles Nevin, a member of the LLB project team and executive director of California State Student Association. “They’re unique, contemporary and thought provoking.”
The festival will run from 11 AM to 7 PM with classes being hosted at Alex’s Bar, the Joe Jost’s Building, the Gladys Urban Farm, Artist Co-OP and the new Orizaba Park community center. The hour-long classes will cost $4 each and will aim to inform attendees of the city’s history, how to build a sustainable future as well as providing instruction in health and networking.
Co-owner and operator of Sliced and Diced Eatery, Amy Eriksen, helped hatch the concept of IF:LB. According to Nevin, the idea for Idea Fest was so well received that nearly half of the graduating class decided to back the project. The acronym “IF” was created as a reminder of what can happen if residents collaborate to create a better city.
“For one day, four Zaferia businesses and Orizaba Parkwill become a thriving campus for residents and business and community leaders to exchange ideas, enjoy live music, sample foods from local restaurants and food trucks and actively participate in the future of Long Beach,” Eriksen said about the fest in a press release.
The musical entertainment will include the Long Beach Community Band, Martin Espino, Riot Stage, Peacemakers as well as other local performers. The event will be emceed by Josh Fischell of Riot Stage. Sponsors including the Aquarium of the Pacific, Millworks, the East Anaheim Business Association (EASBA) a the Redemption Church of Long Beach have help ensure that the fest, which is open to all members of the community, is mostly free of charge.
The Zaferia District corresponds to the neighborhood surrounding the intersection of Anaheim Street and Redondo Avenue. Getting people to come out and experience a neglected part of the city was one of the goals set by IF: LB group.
“It’s a part of our community that’s often ignored,” Nevin said. “It’s a location where residents have a need and we kinda want to get a jolt of energy to that part of the community.”
Nevin recognizes that Idea Fest will add to the growing list of parades and cultural festivals that the city hosts annually. However, unlike most of the existing events, Idea Fest isn’t focused on one particular ethnicity, culture or neighborhood which makes it more inviting because of its all-encompassing events. Its focus on the city and celebrating it as a whole is something he’s optimistic will grab attendees and transform Idea Fest into an event with staying power.
“We hope this is an annual event and something that can be sustainable,” Nevin said. “People can come out, meet each other, increase their networking opportunities and learn something they did not know in the past.”
Classroom tickets and other information are available at www.ideafestlb.org