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What began in 1974 as a birthday celebration for popular local artist, Michael Gonzales, has become Santa Barbara's biggest celebration of art, culture and summertime. Every year, Santa Barbarans kick off the summer season with the Summer Solstice Celebration and Parade-a weekend of live world music, food, arts, crafts and vibrant colorful, and often outrageous, costumes in Alameda Park. Think Mardis Gras meets Art in the Park with a continuous world groove soundtrack playing throughout the entire weekend.
The festival is definitely family-friendly with a Children's Area featuring storytellers, musicians, jugglers, air slide, face painting and art projects, from noon to 6:00 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Solstice is definitely an interactive event with your participation highly encouraged. Join in the drum circle on Saturday or wander the beer and wine garden on Friday from 4:00 - 8:00 p.m., Saturday from noon until 7:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 5:00 p.m. Taste the flavors of Santa Barbara at food and beverage vendor booths or peruse the arts and crafts boutique with over 75 displays.
As much as I love the energy at Alameda Park, I'll admit that the part of the Solstice Celebration I most look forward to is the parade. If you can't make it to Rio, come to Santa Barbara for a fantastical (this year's theme is "Fantasy") display of floats, flying colors, native dances and music that's reminiscent of Carnival. The parade starts at Cota Street and pulses up State Street, ending at Micheltorena and has over 1,000 participants. It begins at high noon on Saturday.
Summer Solstice Celebration and Parade is one of Santa Barbara's signature events, and a summer initiation you won't want to miss.
I enjoyed the summer solstice parade this year. We were the ones face painting on state street with the crowd around us. If you enjoyed the art work please check out our website FacePaintingAmerica.com
Posted On: Wednesday, Jul 11, 2012 12:18 PM
Photos from last years parade (2011):http://flickr.com/gp/tompics47/3905CG/show
Posted On: Friday, Jun 22, 2012 6:47 PM
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