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Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk raises funds for wildfire relief

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk raises funds for wildfire relief
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk raises funds for wildfire relief

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) As Santa Cruz County residents return to their homes in the mountains, along the coast, movie lovers are raising funds for fire relief efforts.

It was a nearly sold out night at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's parking lot where people got to see Disney's live-action Aladdin. That means more money going toward relief efforts, especially for those those who have lost everything.

It was a chilly night, but that did not stop socially distant crowds from coming out, all part of the amusement park's drive-in movie series.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk raises funds for wildfire relief

"It was originally intended to start a couple weeks ago, but was delayed because of the wildfires," said Karley Pope, the director of entertainment at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

On top of a great way to stay cool this weekend, all of the proceeds from Friday and Saturday night will be going toward wildfire relief efforts. More than 900 homes were destroyed in the CZU Lightning Complex in Santa Cruz County.

In Bonny Doon, it was a day people had been waiting for. After more than two weeks, some residents were allowed to return home after evacuation orders were reduced to warnings.

But even in neighborhoods like this one along Westdale Drive, that remained intact, some residents did not stay long. There was no electricity yet.

One house off Felton Empire Road was also still standing, even with burn scars showing flames got pretty close.

"In a little bit of awe at how close the fire actually came. There's burn marks all around the house, but the house itself was fine," said Chris Dempsey, who grew up in Bonny Doon.

Dempsey grew up in that house with his parents. He is relieved his family home made it through. But others, weren't so lucky. Bonny Doon is one of the hardest hit communities.

Dempsey says his parents spent a lot of time trying to make sure their house would not burn down.

"Plenty of open space around the house, they've done a lot to make sure it could be protected," said Dempsey.

For those lucky ones, now it is about cleaning out old food, checking for smoke damage and making sure there is no other dangers around home. And for those who have lost it all, there may be some help on the way from strangers who simply love the movies.

The drive-in movie series continues at the Boardwalk Saturday night at 8 p.m. Pre-sale tickets have already sold out, but there are limited tickets available at the gate.

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Josh Kristianto

Josh Kristianto is a weekend anchor and multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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