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Security ramping up at Goleta’s Lemon Festival

Thousands of people will flood Goleta’s Girsh park this weekend, all for the love of citrus.

“This has really grown to be such a fun event,” said Kelly Hoover, the City of Goleta’s new Community Relations Manager. Hoover is excited to be a part of the lemon loving festival given her new role and is looking forward to the pie-eating contest.

Law enforcement and the City of Goleta are working together to make the 28th Annual Goleta Lemon Festival a safe and successful weekend.

The Lemon Festival is one of Goleta’s biggest parties of the year, but how do we address safety after the Gilroy Garlic Festival at these free, family-friendly events that draw huge crowds?

“It’s a delicate balance. Law enforcement is always vigilant and these issues are always in the forefront of our minds as well. I think the planning, preparation, and coordination with the City of Goleta is key to maintaining, keeping, this the family-friendly event that it has been for years,” said Raquel Zick, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office new Public Information Officer.

One thing you’ll notice this year is the presence of the Mounted Enforcement Team.

“So this is an opportunity for the public to get up close and personal and see these beautiful horses and talk to the riders and learn about this important tool for the county,” said Hoover.

The Sheriff’s Office will be doing some up-staffing and Zick says their intelligence-gathering networks are constantly monitoring for threats and things are shaping up to be a peaceful weekend. Hoover also stresses the importance of community vigilance.

“This is one of those cases where it’s really up to everyone to be looking out for anything suspicious, to report suspicious activity right away because when you’re in a large setting such as this one, it’s just important that everybody plays a part, for looking out for the safety,” said Hoover.

The City of Goleta is also using the Lemon Festival as an opportunity to do community outreach.

“We want to sign people up for emergency alerts. We want to make sure they know how to communicate with the city. We want to tell them about the upcoming academy that they can be a part of, and we really want to help educate them about Census 2020 and what they can expect to get in the mail in March and how they can participate and why it’s important to participate,” said Hoover.

Officials are rallying residents for 100% participation in Census 2020 to “Make Goleta Count.”

Hoover highlights that the information collected is used for statistical purposes only and impacts the entire community.

“Everyone needs to [participate] so we have an accurate count, So that we can get important state and federal funding that we depend on,” said Hoover.

You can get all the info and check out all the citrus-y fun in Girsh Park on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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