When it comes to the Sacramento community, few organizations have mastered its affects quite like what Unseen Heroes has accomplished with Gather: Oak Park and its latest venture, Gather: Quarry Park. Both events, taking place once a month from May through October, demonstrate how to celebrate the most driven members of a community, in an environment where the most common member is able to appreciate the final product.
Where Gather: Oak Park has a communal table for guests to convene and discover local cuisine, Gather: Quarry Park has made the best use of Rocklin’s unique landscape, paired with a spacious amphitheater, to establish a new central gathering space for the greater Sacramento community to enjoy. For those who have attended either event, there is an undeniable flavor in the atmosphere that feels fresh, seemingly out of place, but welcoming to all.
In fact, Gather’s expansion to Rocklin stems from an honest admiration for the quality of the event’s production. It was the City of Rocklin’s marketing and development specialist, Monica Nitz, who found herself driving to Oak Park once a month, just to get a taste of the atmosphere.
“I just loved it,” said Nitz. “We’ve had food events in the past and stuff that were just, ‘bring as many food trucks as you can,’ but there was no connection with it, with the community or any other elements, and so we were looking at how to kind of change the scene.”
By sticking to the Oak Park formula, Quarry Park, with its own growing identity, has created a buzz for itself in less than a year. And just in time for next season, Rocklin Adventures at Quarry Park will only build a greater quality of environment for the event to transcend expectations. Whether it be going to try Argentinian cuisine from Rocklin-based Cosa Nostra Burgers, or teetering along the Hacker Lab tent and discovering a new place to make and create things, Rocklin is showing its potential through Gather.
Unseen Heroes’ co-founder, Maritza Davis, translates the Heroes’ relationship with the City of Rocklin into a successful venture through the expansion of Gather and the components that bring it all together.
“The focus of Gather is to bring community together,” said Davis. “As the months go by, you’re seeing more and more of kind of that same mesh of people, you see young , you see old, you see teeny tiny babies and then you see older folks that like to come and enjoy the music.”
For every person who shows up to a Gather event, the hard work and attention to detail put forth by Davis and her team seems to be validated.
“We think about everything,” said Davis. “‘What are you going to smell when you walk into Gather?’ ‘What are you going to see when you walk into Gather?’ So, you see a lot of large signage, really bright stuff, I mean the branding is all over. ‘What are you going to touch while you’re there?’ So, like tactile things. There’s things for people to do, kids to do, and then the music is, ‘What are they going to hear?’”
While Davis makes it clear that food will always be the main course at Gather events, the music is not secondary. In continuing to expand its network, Gather has teamed up with Sol Collective to provide a platform for local artists to be featured, while also including touring acts from foreign communities.
As Gather’s reputation continuously grows each month, so do the ambitions for Davis and her team.
“I think this was definitely a huge step for us,” said Davis. “If we can make it feasible so that we can actually take something that we love and continue to build the cities in different areas that we know would totally benefit from a Gather, and then also enjoy it, that’s what’s next.”
In adapting to whatever comes next, it is safe to say Unseen Heroes will continue to push Sacramento forward with community spirit at the forefront.
The final Gather: Oak Park of the season will take place this Thursday, while the final Gather: Quarry Park will be making its way to Rocklin on October 26.
For more information on Unseen Heroes and future Gather events, visit Unseen-Heroes.com.
Photos by Bethany Harris