Community members are invited to join together for a walk of remembrance next week to mark the one year anniversary of the Jan. 9 debris flows disaster in Montecito.
Titled “Raising Our Light,” people will start assembling at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Lower Manning Park. A short program will begin around 6:30 p.m. before the candlelit procession heads down San Ysidro Road to All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, 83 Eucalyptus Lane, according to Sharon Byrne, of the Montecito Association.
Flameless candles will be provided at the park prior to the event. The walk is estimated to be 15 to 25 minutes and shuttle service will be available for transport to the park and other sights beginning at 5:30 p.m.
“The community in Montecito and the surrounding areas took quite the hit on Jan. 9. We lost 23 lives which is still really tough for the community to endure,” Ms. Bryne told the News-Press.
The debris flow put many people out of work, destroyed homes and residents in some 400 households were displaced.
“It really ripped a tear through the heart of the community,” Ms. Byrne said.
The event will remember and honor those who were lost while allowing the community to come together as a way to show there are many who still care about the welfare of the community, Ms. Byrne said.
“It makes sense to acknowledge that Jan. 9 happened and that it was really hard and hurt a lot of people and livelihoods,” she explained. “But it also showed us some of the finest humanitarian hearts we have locally…. Some of the best and brightest stepped up to say ‘I’m going to do something so we’re not this vulnerable again.'”
Between 500 and 1,000 people are expected to attend the event, which will conclude with a bell ceremony and a cup of soup at the church.
Large lights will be placed along the walking path down San Ysidro Road during what is typically the darkest time of the year, Ms. Byrne said.
All Saints by-the-Sea Episcopal served as the first triage and disaster relief center set up in the wake of the debris flow, making the location where evacuees were housed in the early morning hours last year an appropriate location for the conclusion of the event.
“The event is for everyone in the community,” event organizers said. “By providing the space in which to honor our collective experiences, it is the hope of the committee that our community will share a night of healing, hope, and light with one another.”
The event is sponsored by the Debris Flow and Thomas Fire Anniversary Planning Committee, a collaboration between local churches, nonprofits, schools and other local organizations.
The program will include several local church groups, first and second responders and county officials. Special music performances will also take place featuring survivor Lauren Cantin and Montecito Schools Children’s Choir.
Parking near Lower Manning Park and the church is expected to be completely full or reserved in advance. Attendees are encouraged to park in designated lots between 5 and 6 p.m. and shuttle to and from the event. Parking spaces at the park will be reserved for those with disabled person parking placards and for community members with limited mobility.
Shuttle service will be offered in the following areas: Music Academy of the West; Coast Village Road at Butterfly Lane; Coast Village Road at the Montecito Inn; Westmont main entrance; Cold Spring School; Mount Carmel Church; and Valley Club. Return shuttles will run from 7:15 to 9 p.m. every 20 to 30 minutes.
Shuttle service to and from the event will also be offered at the Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara Junior High School and St. Joseph’s Church in Carpinteria.
Late pickups for the closing reception will be offered at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Church in Carpinteria, the Santa Barbara Zoo and Music Academy of the West.
Attendees are also advised to take MTD route 14 from Santa Barbara to Montecito and route 20 from Carpinteria to Montecito.
Those who have questions or want to arrange specialized shuttle transportation are asked to call 845-7887 by Monday.
“It makes sense to acknowledge that Jan. 9 happened and that it was really hard and hurt a lot of people and livelihoods. But it also showed us some of the finest humanitarian hearts we have here locally.”