Teen councils host Palopalooza

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Teens work on an arts and crafts project at the Palopalooza event Friday evening at the Mitchell Park Community Center. Attendees came from a variety of schools around the Bay Area. Gunn High School freshman Inaaya Rahim said she enjoys teen council events because she has the opportunity to bond with friends and meet new people. “The events here are really cool because it’s not just people from one school but multiple schools,” Rahim said. “I get to know other people that I don’t really regularly see.” (Photo: Anna Feng)

Anna Feng, News Editor

After a cancellation last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, students are responding positively to Palopalooza, a teen-focused event, organized by local Palo Alto teen councils Friday evening at the Mitchell Park Community Center. 

The Teen Advisory Board, Teen Arts Council and Palo Alto Youth Council collaborated to organize Palopalooza, a localized version of Lollapalooza, a four-day music festival hosted annually in Chicago. The event attracted students from high schools around the Bay Area and included live music and activities including scrapbooking, a dunk tank and tie-dying T-shirts. 

According to TAB Vice President Ashley Hung, the planning for this event began in February in conjunction with TLAB and PAYC, with the goal of bringing together the teen community of the Bay Area over food, games and live music.

“We’re reaching the end of the school year, so we wanted a fun event where a bunch of the groups came together and brought their friends to make it a big community effort,” Hung said. “A lot of parents here were watching their kids play in the band, and I think it’s exciting to see a lot of food, a lot of music, and people coming together over things that they like.”

Fremont High School senior Kaitlin Wong performed an original song at Palopalooza and heard about the event after performing at previous TAB Open Mic Nights.

“There’s no judgment and it is full of people who really enjoy what they do,” Wong said. “They’re doing it just because it’s their passion and what they are really fond of doing, and you can definitely see that.” 

According to TAB and PAYC advisor Chris Penaranda, the teen councils organized the event to encourage students to engage with their community, especially after the pandemic. 

“We wanted kids to get outside more after the pandemic,” Penaranda said. “We just wanted to provide a space for them to relax before finals and bring teens together and meet new people.”

Gunn freshman Jazzy Alam echoed Penaranda’s sentiments by saying she enjoyed getting to take part in an event where she could hang out with friends over shared interests. 

“I like how everyone gathers around and there are a lot of fun events and yummy food,” Alam said. “You can make new friends and new connections and try stuff that you might really like doing.”