2020 has been an unusual year to say the least.
But today is Thanksgiving, and many people walking State Street on Wednesday who were in town for the holiday expressed thankfulness that they have managed to stay healthy amid the year-defining COVID-19 pandemic.
Many who spoke to the News-Press on Wednesday afternoon were people who had arrived in Santa Barbara from out of town. Berkeley resident Russell Grange remarked that he and his fiancé, Dana Stranz, came down to Santa Barbara to get some sunshine and a change of scenery, burn some vacation days, and spend today’s holiday with his uncle and aunt.
Mr. Grange added that he and his fiancé wanted to go somewhere for Thanksgiving that would enable them to travel responsibly amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We intentionally chose a spot that we could get to without really having to make any stops along the way,” he said.
Mr. Grange said he is thankful that he and Ms. Stranz are in good health, for the fact that they are both still employed due to being able to work remotely, and that there is more freedom in America to move about amid the pandemic than in other parts of the world, such as Europe.
“I’m glad to have the mobility to still be able to have a bit of freedom of movement,” he said.
Orange County resident Stacy Vencill told the News-Press that she came to Santa Barbara for the holiday with her husband, 9-year-old son, and 7-year-old daughter. Her family doesn’t have any relatives in town, so today will consist of a morning of horseback riding, and tonight a catered meal to their hotel room.
Ms. Vencill said she was thankful for her family and grateful that nobody in her family has gotten sick this year.
Out-of-towners who spoke to the News-Press on Wednesday also included Boulder, Colorado, resident James Hardaway, who said he was in Santa Barbara to spend the holiday with his daughter and son, the former a UCSB student. Mr. Hardaway was the only one who didn’t cite his health as what he was thankful for. Instead he opted for something else that was essential: his kids.
“I’m thankful to be able to spend time with my daughter, she’s out here in college … and my son who is here with us too,” he said.
One local who spoke to the News-Press was Masood Azizi, who owns Tribal Rugs & Art on State Street. He expressed gratitude for his health and said he plans on spending today by having a big dinner with his wife and three kids.
While many people have come to the Santa Barbara area for the Thanksgiving holiday, Goleta resident Jehan Ibrahem will instead be driving out of town today to visit her family in the San Fernando Valley and have a big dinner with them. Like many of the other interviewees, Ms. Ibrahem was happy to have dodged COVID-19 thus far.
“I’m thankful that I haven’t gotten COVID yet,” she said.
She added, “I’m thankful that I have a family that I can go home to.”