We Belong Fair
The first-ever We Belong Fair on Friday, April 12, aims to represent and celebrate the diverse cultures and identities within San Lorenzo Valley and at the elementary school. (Photo via Shutterstock)

After events like the CZU Lightning Complex Fire and the Covid-19 pandemic kept local students apart starting in 2020—from home, school and each other—the Bobcat Club at San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School (SLVE) has created an all-inclusive event in an effort to bring folks back together again.

The We Belong Fair aims to represent and celebrate the diverse cultures and identities within San Lorenzo Valley and at the elementary school. On the evening of Friday, April 12, the school campus will come alive with dance performances, live music, multiple community art projects, a kids’ fashion show, and much more.

Sarina King, co-founder and chair of the first We Belong Fair, is excited to see this event take flight and become an annual celebration.

“The We Belong Fair draws inspiration from a variety of sources, notably the collaborative efforts of Scotts Valley parents in organizing similar events,” said King, who is also the parent of an SLVE student. “Last summer, I connected with Ashley Perlitch, one of the organizers behind the Scotts Valley Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility group, which hosts the Scotts Valley Multicultural Fair. I was inspired to expand upon the traditional multicultural fair concept, aiming to create a more inclusive space at SLVE that embraces and celebrates the LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse communities, as well as individuals with diverse physical abilities. This collaborative effort is the first of its kind that we have seen within our community, blending elements of established events with fresh perspectives to create a truly unique and inclusive experience at SLVE.”

In addition to the various festivities that will take place during the event, King is optimistic about what the Fair will provide after the last balloon has been deflated.

“Looking ahead, our vision extends beyond the boundaries of SLVE; we aim to expand the reach of this event to encompass all schools within the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District and eventually extend its impact to our wider community. By growing and expanding an event like this, we can amplify the message of inclusivity and solidarity,” King said.

That mission will be achieved via the various events and performances available at the Fair. 

From a Polaroid photo art project to a Brazilian dance lesson and live cooking demonstrations, King and her team hope to broaden the perspectives of students and their families and create a celebration of exploring different traditions and cultural festivities.

“Being part of the We Belong Fair has been amazing for us as a family. It’s like a big celebration of all the things that make us different and unique,” said Heather Henricks, event organizer and SLVE parent. “Supporting our kids, enjoying the company of people from all walks of life, different abilities and identities just feels like we’re helping them become better planetary citizens. It really drives home the message of acceptance and belonging. We’re excited to keep being part of this awesome event and watch it grow even bigger.”

The entire community is welcome to attend this inaugural event, rain or shine, from 5-7:30pm on Friday, April 12. Admission is free, and event coordinators are still looking for volunteers to help run the various booths and activities. For more information, visit slvbobcatclub.com/events/we-belong-fair.

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Christina Wise covers politics, education, art & culture, and housing issues. She has a degree in Communication from San Diego State University, and has lived in the San Lorenzo Valley since 1996. She's a community advocate and a mother of two.


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