While the first festival started with only performers and student artists in Abbott Square in downtown Santa Cruz, the annual Community and Arts Festival in downtown Santa Cruz has now expanded to include a variety of eclectic and informative volunteer groups intent on merging campus and city communities.

“City residents liked having the opportunity to see an afternoon of performances from UCSC student groups,” said community relations representative Richelle Noroyan. “While the community knows UCSC is a dynamic, important campus, they might not be as aware of all the ways the campus contributes to the community and the world. We felt providing the opportunity to display campus and community collaboration across many sectors would create an even stronger relationship between the campus and the city.”

This Saturday, the Community and Arts Festival will present various performances sponsored by the UCSC Government and Community Relations Good Neighbor Initiative.

“The organizations we have chosen work every day to make the university and the community of Santa Cruz a better place,” said event coordinator Priscilla Lopez. “They work with the community on a daily basis, and this festival will allow members of the community to interact with university organizations — a stronger network will be built.”

Performances animating Abbott Square will showcase a blend of talent, from opera singers and fusion dance teams to UCSC jugglers and caricature artists. There will also be entertainment and performances by Acquire A Cappella, Justin Beep Boop, Tangroupe, Sabrosura and Kasama Ballroom Company. Singers Sean Campbell and Casey Dayan, winners of last year’s UCSC Got Talent Show, will also be performing. In addition, participating students will be displaying their artwork or engineering projects while they talk about the university and their respective majors.

Organizations attending the event include UCSC’s own Sustainability Office and The Farm, Camp Kesem — a nationwide organization that offers programs to children whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer — and the Rotaract Club, an organization focusing on local community service in the Santa Cruz area and fundraising for large scale international projects.

“[The Rotaract Club] volunteers on most weekends with other non-profits like Habitat for Humanity, Save our Shores, Homeless Garden Project and Special Olympics,” said second-year Rotaract Club class president Jessie Case. “Our organization helps make UC Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz community a better place by providing eager volunteers a planned event to attend, a group of the most caring people around to volunteer with and a ride to the event.”

The student-initiated festival hopes to give the Santa Cruz community a better understanding of how UCSC contributes to the community and the world while allowing the city and university to develop positive relationships.

“Thanks to the efforts of both our Chancellor and community leaders that include city council members, city staff, local business leaders and non-profit leaders, UCSC and the city work very well together,” said community relations representative Richelle Noroyan. “We need each other to create a vibrant environment for residents and students. So many people want a collaborative relationship and have worked hard to ensure the campus and the city are close.”

The UCSC Community and Arts Festival will take place on April 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Cooper Street and Abbott Square in downtown Santa Cruz. Admission is free. This event is made possible by the UCSC art department, Porter College and the Good Neighbor Initiative Program.