The Annual Broad Fest attracts with art and entertainment

Despite last week's high temperatures, Saturday's slightly overcast, breezy weather was the perfect setting for the Second Annual Broad Fest at Santa Monica College's Performing Arts Center.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Broad Stage invited festival attendees to take part in various family-friendly activities, watch free performances, and try different food vendors.

According to Eric Bloom, Broad Stage associate producer, the now traditional festival began in 2012, and was initially organized to bring attention to SMC's new Broad Stage with an array of local performers and businesses, different genres of music, and theater, projects, and organizations.

"The festival went so well last year that we wanted to do it again andcreate a tradition for years to come," Bloom said.

This year's performances ranged from Bollywood-styled dances by the Santa Monica-based dance company Blue13 to ensembles of eclectic marimbas.

SMC's own dance groups Global Motion and Synapse performed and promoted their upcoming shows, which will be presented the first two weeks of November at the Broad Stage.

Also other future events planned for the SMC Performing Arts Center were advertised and special ticket sales were offered to festival visitors.

In addition to performances on the main stage in the Plaza, the small, intimate Edye Theater was specifically for the festival revamped into a lounge to showcase jazz performers, such as the Santa Monica High School Jazz Ensemble and SMC's own jazz band.

"The Edye Theater was my favorite because I could take a break from all the exciting activities and dance performances that were going on outside in the Plaza and go to the Jazz lounge and chill," SMC student Brianna Felhaber said.

Interactive and family-friendly booths were set up around the main stage so that guests could both participate in activities and listen to performances.

Airbrush and face painting were provided, as well as "real-life adventure games" such as brain teasers and puzzles, hats and other souvenirs.

Guests could cool down with free locally-made snacks from Beachy Cream Organic Ice Cream and La Monarca Bakery & Cafe.

Water Resources Division of the City of Santa Monica helped attendees stay hydrated with their free water stations and shaded areas.

Among the fun activities and performances were community organizations and services such as Vision to Learn, which offered free eye exams, and the Los Angeles Library Store on Wheels, which sold books of different genres.

For the second time at the Broad Fest, artist Erika Eiko showcased her project "The Green Heart."

Her artwork has been exhibited nationwide and internationally with the motto, "The world is listening," and the mission to increase more tolerance among people around the world.

Members of "The Green Heart" encouraged the festival's visitors to "write what's in [their] heart" and posted the notes on a large canvas that was displayed in the Plaza.

Eiko plans an exhibition for the stories she collected during the Broad Fest.

"I came up with The Green Heart project so that others could tell their stories," she said.

Reyna MaresComment