Community picnic at Huntington Beach Central Park celebrates diversity

A member of Redboy Productions of Orange County performs at the Huntington Beach community picnic.
A member of the Native American dance group Redboy Productions of Orange County performs during Sunday’s Huntington Beach community picnic.
(Courtesy of Matt Liffreing)

Ample sunshine in Huntington Beach on Sunday provided a pleasant backdrop for hundreds to meet up at Central Park for a community picnic held to promote inclusion and diversity.

Attendees talked to community leaders, watched live music performances and visited a variety of food trucks.

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said five former mayors — Debbie Cook, Connie Boardman, Shirley Dettloff, Ralph Bauer and Dave Garofolo — attended in support. Others in attendance included Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, state Sen. Dave Min, U.S. Rep. Michelle Steel and state Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris.

The leaders gathered on stage, many of them throwing up a friendly “shaka” hand gesture.

Local community leaders gathered on stage Sunday in Central Park for Huntington Beach's community picnic.
Local community leaders gathered on stage Sunday in Central Park for Huntington Beach’s community picnic. Those pictured include Mayor Kim Carr, sixth from right, as well as Councilmembers Dan Kalmick (left), Mike Posey (second from left), Barbara Delgleize (fourth from left) and Natalie Moser (right).
(Courtesy of Julie Toledo / city of Huntington Beach)

“I thought it was a beautiful event and it really showed the true heart of Huntington Beach,” Carr said in a phone interview. “Everybody came together and just really celebrated all things good about our city. There was so much good energy.”

The event was proposed by Councilwoman Natalie Moser and approved on a unanimous vote at the City Council meeting on April 5. Moser thanked city staff for putting it together on relatively short notice.

The picnic, along with a virtual “Hate Free HB” event the previous weekend, were designed to show the positive side of Surf City. Huntington Beach was in the national spotlight as a “White Lives Matter” rally was scheduled at the pier on April 11, though it largely fizzled out and featured a majority of peaceful counter-protesters.

Moser said she felt a sense of civic pride Sunday, when the soundchecks were going on prior to the event.

“It kind of took my breath away just to see all of the people even out and working on an event,” Moser said. “It was really uplifting just to see that, and then to see the community come out for it, it was very heartening for me. I think for a lot of people, it was their first time out in a group setting [since the beginning of the pandemic]. There were a lot of senior people in the community too who were there.”

Moser said many residents have requested that the community picnic become an annual event or even be held as frequently as every few months.

Vivian Bui of the Huntington Beach High School Bridges program hands out a flier at Sunday's community picnic.
Vivian Bui of the Huntington Beach High School Bridges program hands a flier to an interested resident at Sunday’s community picnic.
(Courtesy of Matt Liffreing)

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