Sometimes, places call to you. That’s how it was when Elizabeth Smith first visited Sebastopol. She knew she had to move here. She felt the same way the first time she went to a Peacetown Concert in Ives Park.
“I just knew I had to be a part of it,” she said.
Last summer, Smith, who has two children, offered to create Peacetown Family Village, a children’s area with activities for kids and families that allowed families with young children to stay and enjoy the concerts longer.
This year’s Peacetown Summer Concerts are virtual, but Smith wanted west county children to have something tangible to remind them of the popular happening that’s a summer staple for so many people in Sebastopol.
She came up with the idea of the Peace Bag.
“The Peace Bag includes an activity that supports community connection, family engagement, local resources and fun,” Smith said. “Every week a local organization is our ‘Community Spotlight’ and contributes for that week’s activity and provides resources to share.”
“I have reached out to local organizations, such as the Laguna Foundation, Recology and the Chamber of Commerce. Lots of different organizations have partnered with me on this endeavor," she said.
Every week there’s something different in the bag.
“One week, the Chamber donated sidewalk chalk so each bag got a box of chalk, and then I wrote up this little blurb that said something along the lines of ‘Chalk the walk: go out into the community and decorate the sidewalks for your community to see,’” she said, noting that for the next week, she saw sidewalk chalk drawings all over town.
“Another week I provided all the lyrics for the Peacetown song and asked families to record themselves singing a little blurb, and then I put together a whole song with all the children and families doing it together,” she said.
She said the Peace Bags are providing local families and children some sense of community continuity during a difficult, socially-distanced time where a sense of community is hard to come by.
“I got some really nice feedback yesterday from a family that said how much it meant to them because they've raised their children going to Peacetown and everything is just so different right now that it gave their children the feeling that ‘OK, Peacetown is still in my life’ and it brought in that sense of community,” she said.
Smith said you can also buy Peacetown merchandise at the Peace Bag giveaway as well as music from this year's Peacetown Virtual Concerts. The profits from those sales go to support Peacetown, local musicians and the Peacetown Family Village.
You can pick up a free Peace Bay today, Wednesday, June 24, behind Toyworks, and every Wednesday throughout the Peacetown season. For more information on the Peacetown Summer Concert Series, visit https://www.peacetown.org/sponsors.