Getting To Know Jacaranda Fest Hosts

6 Questions with Peter Hanink

Peter & his family are hosting in Artcraft Manor.

Lived on Block: 3 years

 

Why do you love the neighbors on your block?
Last year we put in a little library and we have really enjoyed watching folks walk by and check out the books. 

 

Why do you think it is important to know your neighbors?
The pandemic has reminded us how much we rely on our neighbors and how alone we can feel. 

 

Why are you excited to host a Jacaranda Fest on your block?
We’ve had a lot of new neighbors recently and would love a chance for them to get to know each other.  

 

What are some fun activities you and your neighbors are planning to bring your block together?
Sidewalk art and flower crafts.

 

What’s one purple food and/or drink you look forward to enjoying at Jacaranda Fest?
We are really excited about purple ube cup cakes! Ube is a purple yam that is frequently used in Filipino cooking. It’s such a gorgeous color and tastes great!

 

Any encouragement or advice to anyone who is on the fence about hosting their own Jacaranda Fest?
There’s no right way to get to know your neighbors! Getting to know your neighbors sometimes is as simple as having something to break the ice. Even if only a few folks actually show up, you’ll have a chance to get to know them.

6 Questions with Adelita Lopez

Adelita & Andrew are hosting in Rose Park.

Lived on Block: 7 years

 

Why do you love the neighbors on your block?
Everyone is very approachable and friendly. Neighbors share decorations during holidays, share books in the free little library and stop by during their walks to chat with one another.  

 

Why do you think it is important to know your neighbors?
Safety and community are driven by getting to know one another, and being there to support one another in good and challenging times. When everyone brings their individual stories together, we all better build our relationships and come together to make the best moments on our block.  

 

Why are you excited to host a Jacaranda Fest on your block?
Before the pandemic, we were trying to activate a safety community watch group, all our efforts came to a stop. This event centered around our Long Beach jacarandas if the perfect opportunity to bring everyone together for the 1st time since we went on lockdown!  

 

What are some fun activities you and your neighbors are planning to bring your block together?
Ice breaker games, cultural food, crop swaps, show & tell…

 

What’s one purple food and/or drink you look forward to enjoying at Jacaranda Fest?
Purple Jamaica, blueberries, eggplants, purple potato, purple cauliflower…

 

Any encouragement or advice to anyone who is on the fence about hosting their own Jacaranda Fest?
It’s very fun and I think as hosts we put more pressure on ourselves then we need to. Most people just want a space to gather, all the other details really do fall into place. It’s a great experience being able to bring neighbors together. This is how we met our neighbors, who we’ve become so close with that our kids call them grandma and aunties.

6 Questions with Ashley Ruiz

Ashley & her daughter Mia are hosting in Bixby Knolls.

Lived on Block: 41 years

 

Why do you love the neighbors on your block?
I love the neighbors on my block because we all look out for one another. Many of us have known each other for several years (some even going back to the late 1970s) and are like extended family. We share meals, holidays, remind each other to move our cars for street sweeping, and look after each other’s homes when out of town. 

 

Why do you think it is important to know your neighbors?
It’s important to know your neighbors because it makes life in Long Beach so much more enjoyable.  It’s so nice to be able to drive home from work or walk out to your car and be greeted with a hello or wave from your neighbors. It makes you feel like someone is looking out for you and cares, which can really turn your day around.  It’s also nice knowing that we have several sets of eyes on our children and houses, which provides a sense of security. 

 

Why are you excited to host a Jacaranda Fest on your block?
I’m excited to host a Jacaranda Fest because this is the first time since the onset of Covid that we will have the opportunity to get together and enjoy each other’s company. We have new neighbors and many of the children have grown dramatically over the past two years. We can get together and have a great time sharing our love/hate relationship with the Jacarandas on our block. 

 

What are some fun activities you and your neighbors are planning to bring your block together?
We plan to make Jacaranda leis, purple slime, do some purple tie dying, and purple drawing/painting.

 

What’s one purple food and/or drink you look forward to enjoying at Jacaranda Fest?
Purple punch and purple cupcakes. 

 

Any encouragement or advice to anyone who is on the fence about hosting their own Jacaranda Fest?
Encourage your neighbors to help. It doesn’t need to be fancy.  Everyone will have a great time just getting together.

6 Questions with Angie Rebennack

The Rebennacks are hosting in El Dorado Park South.

Lived on Block: 11 years

 

Why do you love the neighbors on your block?
My block has a great mix of long-time residents and new neighbors. I love learning the history of my neighborhood! We also have a great culture of sharing – the Crop Swap is always full of citrus this time of year.

 

Why do you think it is important to know your neighbors?
I feel like it’s a great safety advantage! I know there are other folks keeping an eye on my house, pets and kids as we come in go through the busy days.  

 

Why are you excited to host a Jacaranda Fest on your block?
The flowers that fall are always a conversation, from the mess to the beauty, so having a dedicated time to come together around that will be fun! Our Jacaranda is something that first drew us to our house when we bought it over ten years ago, and every year it makes me so happy – a beautiful reminder of how grateful we are to have our home in our neighborhood.  

 

What are some fun activities you and your neighbors are planning to bring your block together?
I host the annual Garage Sale Weekend, and our Neighborhood Association has a yearly Holiday Lights party, most years we have the Trolley come through to drive the kids around with Santa – that’s always a highlight! 

 

What’s one purple food and/or drink you look forward to enjoying at Jacaranda Fest?
I’ve been loving Ube recently, so hoping for something creative!  

 

Any encouragement or advice to anyone who is on the fence about hosting their own Jacaranda Fest?
If you’re unsure, ask a neighbor to co-host – many hands make light work, plus it might be more fun!  

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