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In 1989, members of the south coast community formed the Gorda Steering Committee in an attempt to acquire property for a community center. The first Big Sur Jade Festival was held in 1990 at Gorda. It began with a handful of vendors and local drumming. In 1991, the South Coast Community Land Trust was formed as a non-profit corporation dedicated to the “preservation and continuance of the South Coast community and culture.” The festival was later moved to Pacific Valley Center, and in 1995 we moved to Pacific Valley School in Los Padres National Forest, just north of Gorda where it has been held every year since, with the exception of 1996 when the school was a command center and evacuation point for the “Wild Fire.”
The Big Sur Jade Festival has grown from just a handful of vendors in the beginning to nearly 50 today. Music and food have been added and we have been featured in Via Magazine (AAA). Our income comes from booth fees, raffle tickets, and donations in lieu of entry fees. This festival has always been offered free to the public and we feel it is our pleasure to share the legend of Big Sur Jade and our hospitality with you. We’d like you to enjoy your visit, patronize the vendors, dance to the music, sample some wonderful food, and reunite with old friends and make some new ones.
The original goal of the SCCLT was to purchase land and build a community center. The SCCLT partnered with Pacific Unified School District and purchased a combination classroom/community center, a dedication and potluck were held in May of 2005. It is used as both a classroom, during school hours, and as a community center at other times. It has hosted several community events, including school events, SCCLT events, and the Big Sur Vision group. We still dream of having a community center on our own piece of land.
However, in addition to the above we have also used the funds generated from the Big Sur Jade Festival to support the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade in buying a vehicle and other gear for their use. We have also partnered with Pacific Valley School to provide summer educational opportunities for our students which have included: sending one student to China; another to England; and others to a writing conference in Oregon. We have financed kayaking at Moss Landing; a bicycle outing on the Adobe trail in Monterey; a high-school trip to Utah Canyon Lands for a week; summer camp for 3 students; a Mexico trip for 7 students; Circus Camp for 4 students, and numerous other opportunities such as horseback riding, life-saving classes, and summer camp.
We continue to look for and provide opportunities for our community to thrive and prosper. If you’d like to see this Festival continue, please consider making a donation so that we may carry on this Columbus Day weekend tradition and eventually raise the money we need to purchase land upon which to build another community center and hold future Big Sur Jade Festivals.