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Message from the Mayor | Santa Cruz ready to start the summer – Santa Cruz Sentinel

The summer solstice will be upon us in a few days and the official start of summer will begin in Santa Cruz. Summer brings more people, more outdoor activities and opportunities to enjoy and celebrate some of the beauty of our wonderful city that nurtures our well-being.

Sonja Brunner

We started the month off celebrating with a well-attended Pride Weekend, Parade and Festival downtown. During the festival, I presented a mayoral proclamation declaring June Pride Month in the City of Santa Cruz, and was joined by Rep. Jimmy Panetta, Senator John Laird, Chancellor of the UCSC Cindy Larive, Cabrillo College Administrator Adam Spickler and college President Matt Wetstein, council members from Scotts Valley, Watsonville and even Monterey to honor statewide contributions of community support LGBTQ+ made by Assemblyman Mark Stone as he nears the end of his term in a few months.

We’re celebrating graduations, some of the first in-person celebrations in years, and also seeing more visitors at our hotels, downtown district, restaurants, and city attractions. Despite an increase in COVID cases, we are also seeing more international visitors. Even the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has international employees working and traveling post COVID restrictions, and I met a few who were from Spain and were excited to live in Santa Cruz for the summer.

The Midtown area has progressed along Soquel Avenue with the Berkeley-based Gilman Brewing Company building the former location of Tony & Alba’s Pizza to accommodate its first home in Santa Cruz. Gilman Brewing will feature award-winning small-batch craft beers, wood-fired pizzas, snacks and big plates.

And the beloved Midtown Fridays block parties return to Midtown Plaza to support local artists and bands live from 5-8 p.m. every Friday. Thanks to Event Santa Cruz for activating this space and supporting the artists in our community.

The Crow’s Nest has also brought back favorite Thursday beach barbecue nights. At 5:30 p.m. every Thursday, this free, family-friendly outdoor stage on Santa Cruz Harbor Beach brings together all the fun, local bands that get everyone dancing, and of course, the famous Crow’s Nest BBQ and outdoor bar.

Continuing the music theme, UC Santa Cruz, in partnership with Noise Pop Industries, will kick off its new outdoor summer concert series at the Quarry Amphitheater beginning June 24 with singer/songwriter Carla Morrison. Mexican origin. Be sure to visit this beautiful space.

There is a Juneteenth Liberation Paddle Out from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at Cowell Beach sponsored by Black Surf Santa Cruz.

With the feeling that our city is opening up again, there is still a COVID yo-yo effect, an unknown economic future, and revitalization continues to move slowly. Some people and businesses I spoke to are booming, and many are still catching up with the devastating losses of COVID.

A new round of $2,500 micro-business grants has become available to eligible businesses, including Santa Cruz artists and musicians, child care providers, construction workers, food vendors, hairdressers, handymen, housekeepers, gardeners and landscapers, nail technicians and more. Help spread the word if you or someone you know might qualify. Applications are open through the end of June through the Santa Cruz Small Business Development Center. For more information, visit

The next Santa Cruz City Council meeting is June 28, and hopefully it will be back in person, after experiencing a few COVID outbreaks. For upcoming programs and information, visit or City Hall.

Starting in July, be sure to join us for free activities, a Santa Cruz pier jump, beach cleanups, and events to celebrate July is Parks and Recreation Month.

Sonja Brunner is the mayor of Santa Cruz.