A Bee-autiful Day in the Montecito Neighborhood
Last Saturday, something amazing happened. The day was gorgeous and crisply cold. A deluge of caring Montecitans amassed in the Upper Village in front of Tecolote Book Shop. They chatted with neighbors, over coffee and pastries provided by Andrea Eltinge Newquist and Jacqueline Duran. They donned neon yellow safety vests, picked up green trash pick-up sticks and orange trash bags, and fanned out into the community.
Another team, Hands Across Montecito, gathered at the Butterfly Lane tunnel, ready to clear abandoned camps and trash on the railroad tracks.
Were you there? If you missed it, this is Beautification Day, an annual Montecito tradition, always held on the first Saturday in November.
Our community sponsors this event, and this year’s theme was “Bee kind, nice, and happy. We’re a kind community in Montecito.” Committee member Nina Terzian provided the theme, and the team enthusiastically embraced it. Marborg provided all the heavy equipment. Montecito Village Grocery and San Ysidro Ranch supplied the lunch, cooked by the expert team at Montecito Fire. Montecito Water District brought water, and Casa Dorinda provided soft drinks. Community sponsors provided the funding for event expenses, including the Hands Across Montecito team’s cleanout, which cleared 1.5 tons of trash from the area and employed six men currently experiencing homelessness or recently housed.
Beautification Day is truly a community-warming, all-hands event where Montecitans put our hands on this community with love, picking up trash and debris. It’s the day when you see up close what makes this community great, and it’s not the gated exclusive estates or celebs. It’s the neighbors and friends who support the community and keep it beautiful.
This was the first post-COVID Beautification Day, and that made it extra poignant. We hugged neighbors, happy to see them for the first time in two years. We listened to live music provided by Maitland Ward and Ron Pierce. We talked with each other. We ate hot dogs, and cupcakes provided by Occhiali. We honored Citizens of the Year Kathi King and Mike Clark.
It was like old times, but new, and better. This year, more youth than ever joined in the cleanup. They might not be able to vote, but our kids can certainly shape this community, now and for the future.
It was also just in time – a beautiful sunshine and blue skies perfect kind of day, right before the rain.
Thank YOU, Montecito, and our terrific Beautification Day Committee, for the most beautiful, heartfelt Bee-autification Day ever!
Sharon Byrne is Executive Director of the Montecito Association