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Santa Monica Goes Brit

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark


By Melonie Magruder
Staff Writer

April 26, 2013 -- Get ready to cultivate the British in you when the Santa Monica Spring Jubilee celebrates BritWeek on the Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place May 4 and 5. Think “Downton Abbey” meets “Gidget.”

Downtown officials are expecting approximately 40,000 visitors and locals each day, which is no surprise to BritWeek officials.

“Britain is the largest single investing country in the world for the U.S,” said Paul J. Wright, an English barrister and a California attorney who sits on the board of BritWeek and serves as its General Counsel. “A million British people live and work here. We truly do have that ‘special relationship.’

“The U.S. and the U.K. are the most closely aligned creative places in the world,” Wright added. “Friendship and commerce between our countries should go hand in hand.”

Crowning the festivities will be a Promenade block party with vendors, retail events, food, drink and more, with a very Anglo-Saxon flavor. A stage in Santa Monica Place’s Center Plaza will feature performances by British artists, including Peter Asher (of the famous 60s pop duo Peter and Gordon), dancing and concerts.

Local gardeners should dig the theme – the classic English garden becomes the Urban Tea Garden for the Vignette landscaping competition. Landscape professionals will show off their skills by building their interpretation of an Urban Tea Garden. These garden vignettes will be throughout The Promenade.

“The Spring Jubilee will provide an enhanced experience for residents and visitors, and an opportunity for family and friends to take a stroll through Downtown Santa Monica to enjoy the beauty that spring brings to our community,” said MacKenzie Carter, Downtown Santa Monica, Inc’s (DTSM) marketing and events manager.

“The festival will showcase some of the natural resources that we are lucky to have here in Southern California, while also celebrating our British community,” she said. “The weekend will be a one-of-a-kind event filled with flowers, music, dancing and more.”

Several local landscape design firms will be vying to win the Vignette competition, including Satori Garden Designs, Beth Edelstein Landscape Design/Minanda Landscape Design, Conscious Living Landscapes and the UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Program Team.

DTSM will provide 10-foot by 12-foot raised beds and a load of compost to competitors who will work their horticultural magic to create the most beautiful Urban Tea Garden for cash prizes and the envy of green thumbs everywhere.

The Jubilee will offer Santa Monica restaurants and retailers a grand opportunity to drive traffic into their establishments with a variety of participatory promotions.

Various speakers will be on hand throughout the weekend, with expert advice on all things green, healthy, and garden-centric. They are sure to send you out into your back yard ready to act on your dream of a home vegetable garden.

Scheduled to speak are experts with the Jamie Oliver Foundation, who has revolutionized American school lunches with easy-to-understand workshops on nutrition. Rob and Chelsea McFarland of HoneyLove will speak about bees and their vital importance to your fruit and vegetable stores in the future.

Enviroscape LA will clue visitors in to drip irrigation and the exploding popularity of vertical gardens (big harvest from small square footage). And Ketti Kupper of Conscious Living Landscapes will speak on the ancient and efficacious healing power of plants.

Carter said she finds the speaker series especially compelling, noting that the Jamie Oliver Better Food Foundation will be featured throughout the weekend as a part of the Spring Jubilee Speaker Series.

“The dedicated members of this foundation will offer workshops that inspire positive eating habits by teaching children and adults about the joys of growing and cooking fresh food,” Carter said.

“These workshops will provide a great opportunity for families to learn together and become excited about eating healthy.”

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