SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Santa Barbara’s first city park is swinging back with a safe summer activity.
Plaza Vera Cruz Park is now home to the Santa Barbara Trapeze Company.
Prior to the pandemic, the park had a long and troubled history that included homelessness, drug use and other illegal activity.
Ever since the City of Santa Barbara put fences around the park last March to prevent the public from entering, it’s been completely cleaned up and converted.
“Putting the fence up allowed us to move a lot of the misuse and illegal behavior that was here at this location,” parks and recreation manager Rich Hanna said.
Now, it’s a place filled with fun in the sun.
“With COVID coming to an end, we were a perfect solution to do something really special within the park,” Santa Barbara Trapeze Co. co-owner Randy Kohn said.
Since moving from Earl Warren Showgrounds in May, the Santa Barbara Trapeze Co. has been offering private lessons and a summer kids camp.
Sisters Ella and Amelia Freidenfeld both said that the camp was one the highlights of their summer.
“I loved going in the air and just feeling all the wind in my hair,” Ella said. “I loved it.”
“I learned how to do extremely cool trapeze tricks like flipping upside down on a trapeze 20-feet in the air,” Amelia said.
Along with allowing people to face their fear of heights, the flying trapeze school is promoting positive activity within the park.
“Having a positive activity in the park, having kids and families here enjoying what they’re experiencing is just an incredible change for this location,” Hanna said.
Currently it’s the largest outdoor circus program in the country.
“The kids are happy, the parents are proud,” Kohn said. “It’s really great to see how much they’re learning in such a short period of time.”
When its’ kids camp concludes in mid-August, the Santa Barbara Trapeze Co. will continue offering lessons along with after-school activities.
The City of Santa Barbara also has plans to partially reopen the park to the public for youth sports.
To learn more about the Santa Barbara Trapeze Company (SBTC), you can click here.