Despite the recent US Government shutdown, and the subsequent loss of our Special Use Permit from the US Forest Service, the 22nd. Annual Big Sur Jade Festival this past Columbus Day weekend turned out to be an unprecedented success despite those difficulties. We would like to thank the residents of Big Sur for their staunch support, for their refusal to let events on the other side of the country cancel an event which has provided educational opportunities to local schoolchildren and supported local first responders and many community organizations for over two decades.
We specifically would like to thank our Congressional Representative Sam Farr, and his aide Alec Arago for their help during this difficult episode. Mr. Farr personally intervened by calling the US Secretary of Agriculture on our behalf and opening a dialogue with the US Forest Service which resulted in the partial reinstatement of our operating permit despite the shutdown. Mr. Farr’s availability and concern for his constituents during this trying time was a testament to him and his staff, we could not have accomplished what we did without his assistance. Many local residents and businesses then stepped forward and provided much needed support for our volunteers and organizers. Treebones Resort, and Mr. Harry Harris kindly offered our volunteers places to camp on their properties, along with Gordon Piffero, Superintendent of Big Sur Unified School District who allowed volunteers to camp at Pacific Valley School. Without those volunteers and a place to house them the festival would have been impossible to manage, we owe deep thanks to those individuals who selflessly made that possible. We also want to thank Jeanne Alkaire who started a Change.org petition which garnered nearly a thousand signatures on our behalf in less than two days, we were amazed and gratified by that international response. Local businesses like Treebones Resort, Nepenthe, and Esalen Institute stepped up and provided material support to our festival, and as always we thank them for their kind patronage. We also would like to thank the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade with CERT Team members, and it’s Board of Directors who volunteered to mange parking at this year’s festival, an effort skillfully led by John Handy. The result of having those highly trained individuals involved was a smooth and incident-free weekend which was made possible by their hard work and professionalism. And we must not forget US Forest Service Chief Ranger Tim Short, who despite the lack of personnel worked diligently with us to provide the resources we needed to accomplish our goal of producing one of the premiere fund-raising events of the year in Big Sur. We look forward to a new era of cooperation with the US Forest Service as a result of his involvement. And last, but certainly not least we thank our volunteers, some who traveled hundreds of miles to attend, for their hard work and dedication.
The South Coast Community Land Trust will continue to provide educational opportunities and support to local community organizations due to the involvement of all those named above and so many more, it never would have happened without your support. Thank you Big Sur, thank you for demanding a miracle.
Secretary of the Board of Directors, South Coast Community Land Trust
Entertainment Director, Big Sur Jade Festival