Aga Popęda here, encouraging you to follow me to Sand City. Even now, when you are reading this, it’s not too late to get up, tie your shoes and walk or drive a few blocks or miles to Sand City, where the party is on and everyone but you is eating tacos.
Naturally, I’m talking about the second day of the 2021 West End Celebration that is wrapping up as we speak—live music promised until 5:30pm tonight. If you are reading it later at night, know that there will be more West End celebrations and more we.Art mural festivals in Sand City in the coming years. In the meantime, read my cover story in this week’s print edition of the Weekly all about how the tiniest Monterey County city put itself out there in the art world and now has more murals than any other location on the Peninsula. (For the city’s official art walk map, click here.)
Sand City is my favorite few blocks in Monterey County so far—maybe because one of its residents, Dawn Peters, gave me such a good tour of it. She introduced me to a community that cares about their tiny city and tries to have fun together—unpretentious fun, with good local bands, local artists and street food. I also met city officials, musicians, sculptors, graffiti artists, painters and glass-blowers, all of whom are either working or living in Sand City. Or both.
My favorite acquaintance was the Sand City Kitty, who (its creator Greg Hawthorne says) I couldn’t have met because it doesn’t exist. But I did meet Sand City Kitty. The fact is a black and white cat followed me everywhere during my Sand City adventures. First, it stared at me from a distance, then it assisted me through interviews, almost if it was this cat, not Peters, who was leading me from one place to another. Stray cats have a lot of time on their hands; nothing unusual about that. But a few hours later, browsing online, I encountered the same kitty cat in the logo for the West End Celebration. I confronted Sand City City Manager Aaron Blair and he said that the kitty is fictional, and Greg Hawthorne is its father in an artistic sense only.
Despite further inquiries, Hawthorne maintains that the cat doesn’t exist. The cat, meanwhile, didn't want to go on the record. (It did tell me it doesn’t want to be adopted because it has too much fun curating we.Art mural festival with Pat Milbery and preparing the band line-up for West End Celebration with its coordinator Steve Vagnini.) Fortunately, Weekly staff photographer Daniel Dreifuss was able to take the photo of Sand City Kitty—or at least a Sand City Kitty Wannabee—so you can take a good look for yourself.
See the resemblance?