Ebb & Flow

A Guide to Ebb & Flow Fest 2019

Wander the river and the Tannery Arts Center on First Friday


Music, dancing, food, and art—these are things we love about summer in Santa Cruz. So this First Friday, get rolling on the river at the fifth-annual Ebb & Flow celebration.

Think of it as a free-wheeling block party at the Tannery Arts Center. Hang with musicians like Kat Factor, listen to Wes Modes’ enchanting community river stories, check out Tannery World Dance, and don’t miss the mariachi band and activity booths. Hard not to love a photo booth—even in the selfie era, nothing produces such wild and crazy portraits.

And yes, there will be bubbles, food trucks, face painting, a treasure hunt, and lots of artists creating colorful eye candy with river-centric themes. After all, the lovely bottle-green San Lorenzo River is the centerpiece of all this outdoor action.

“Ebb & Flow has been transformational in connecting artists, river enthusiasts and community members,” says Laurie Egan, program director of the Coastal Watershed Council, who sees this long afternoon event as key to “enjoying the beautiful natural corridor that runs through our city.”

Participants can start at the Tannery and wander up and down the riverwalk that borders the San Lorenzo, getting reacquainted with its botanica and wildlife. It’s a chance to understand the vibrant identity of our particular river, where attendees will be free to take in art installations and live music, sample some food (which always tastes more delicious when cooked and eaten outdoors), or cool off with a beer or two.

Among the artists whose work will be featured at the free event is Wes Modes, a UCSC lecturer who has traveled riverbanks across the country to speak with locals and document “the lost narratives of river people, river communities, and the river itself.” Another participating artist, Jayson Fann, specializes in large-scale works made of wood salvaged from the California coast.

Don’t forget to stop by Radius Gallery and see what artist Shay Church has created in the way of a site-specific, river-themed exhibit out of clay and wood scraps.

The only-in-Santa-Cruz annual event is a labor of love by the Arts Council of Santa Cruz County, which for 40 years has inspired and helped bring to life both individual and collective artistic expression. Believing that we are indeed a county filled with gifted artists, whose work adds incalculable quality of life to our region, the Arts Council invites everyone to come on down to the river this First Friday.

The Ebb & Flow River Arts Festival takes place on Friday, June 7, from 5:30-9 p.m. at the Tannery Arts Center. Free. ebbandflowfest.org.

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