After a two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise’s annual Dolphin Dive Race and Festival returned to Santa Barbara for the third annual festival on Saturday.
The festival includes a “dolphin race,” involving rubber dolphins that are launched down a 160-foot watercourse. According to Mr. Ryan there were at least 700 dolphins amongst the five races.
“We had several attendees come out during the day. We had a series of five races including a kids race, which we experimented with this year for the first time, where the kids sponsored and decorated dolphins,” Eric Ryan, event organizer, told the News-Press.
The kids’ race was very popular and the organization plans to do it again next year.
“We started early in the morning, starting off with donations in kind from sponsors who donated gift certificates,” according to Mr. Ryan.
The winners of the races, with the exception of the kids race, are as follows: Oscar Zevala, $2500; Kurt Green, $1000; Sue Pilkington, $500; and Michelle Richards, $300.
Event organizers spoke to how it felt to be back in person: “Oh man it was so great we felt like this was just getting traction when we got shut down. This was the relaunch, we have our traction back and we are hoping next year will be bigger,” said Mr. Ryan.
“People were so excited to be back out in person, they were out on the grass having fun and listening to music. All proceeds go to funding volunteer programs and community service projects,” Judith McCaffrey, president of the Sunrise Rotary Club, told the News-Press.
“So every year our club provides dictionaries to every third grade student in the Santa Barbara school district, and our members have a lot of fun distributing dictionaries. We also do scholarships and send a couple student leaders to the Rotary Youth leadership program,” said Ms. McCaffrey.
The club also equipped four graduating seniors of the class of 2022 from La Cuesta Continuation High School with laptops. These are just a few examples of community service projects done by the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise Charitable Foundation.
“Station number five of the fire department came out and brought one of their ladder trucks and tapped into the hydrant and they helped us recycle the water between races so we weren’t wasting water and they helped us spray the water onto dry areas of the park after the races. They were really excited about the festival. It was really a fun day,” said Mr. Ryan.
The day featured live music from the Nick Hoffman Band featuring Ally Shiras and SnapShot from the Chase Palm Park stage with Drew Wakefield as emcee. Activities for children were provided by the United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara, including a photo booth and face painting. We were really pleased we had so many families having fun. Families were out here playing corn hole and getting their faces painted,” said. Ms. McCaffrey.
“I think that our hope for the future is that it becomes a broader community event and that we have built something that is growing and we are excited to have other organizations be a part of it,” said Mr. Ryan.