By: Sonny Tapia and Jonathan Bigall
Beach Streets, an open street event organized by the city of Long Beach, returned on Saturday, Sept. 17 for the first time since 2019 with gathering hubs, food trucks and live music along the Long Beach State campus all the way to Spring Street.
For this year’s Beach Streets festival, sections of Atherton Street, Bellflower Boulevard, Los Coyotes Diagonal and Spring Street were sectioned off from car traffic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and multiple festival hubs with different activities were set up at the Walter Pyramid, Whaley Park, under Interstate Highway 405 overpass, as well as two on Spring Street.
At the Pyramid hub, one of the most popular during the event, a stage was set up on the Pyramid front lawn where musical acts were scheduled for the duration of Beach Streets. Regina Cooks said that after seeing one of the featured bands “Knyght Ryder,” she and her husband were excited to see them at the Pyramid hub. David Waterborough said he had come to Beach Streets solely for the band.
“I usually sleep in until 1 or 2 p.m., but I had to come out to see them because it’s all about the nostalgia honestly,” Waterborough said.
Local parents, Josh Angle and Suezette Angle said that they thought it would be a nice time to get some fresh air and let the kids just have fun. Activities like face painting, henna tattoos, a jumper obstacle course and even a puppet show were draws for younger crowds.
Celeste Nelson rode with her husband and son on bikes during Beach Streets, said while her and her family sporadically attended events in Long Beach, she was glad to see the community celebrating at Beach Streets after many events were postponed or canceled.
Under the 405 overpass on Los Coyotes Diagonal, the “405 hub,” featured music group GRN+GLD as well as various supporting artists, from the beginning of the festival to the end.
Singer and songwriter of GRN+GLD, Elyse Vox said, “We are a collective more than a group because we all have different tastes and likenesses. Being a collective is also much more inclusive and that is what we thrive to be always.”
On Spring St. the Extreme Hub featured a rock-climbing wall, kids kickboxing lessons and multiple ramps for skateboarding and BMX showcases. Joshua Jones, an onlooker said he believed that it was one of the cooler hubs.
“There are skateboarders doing their thing, while you have kids climbing a giant rock wall and suiting up to work out as a kickboxer,” Jones said.
The skateboarding exhibition was put on by local Long Beach club, Skatedogs. Speaking to the crowd, Owner Adam Davis said, “We believe that anyone and everyone can skate and have fun. That is why our oldest member is 70 years old and our youngest member is 4 years old.”