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The holiday season is no longer just around the corner, in Santa Barbara, our menus are planned, party outfits have been picked out and we're ready to celebrate the rest of the year surrounded by friends and family. Whether you're planning a Thanksgiving getaway or if Santa Barbara is your Christmas vacation destination, we're here to help plan your stay with some of our favorite events of the season. With so many holiday events and gatherings to choose from, your calendar is sure to be booked from now until 2015.
In between planning your Santa Barbara Thanksgiving and putting the final touches on your holiday menu, take the time to attend one of our November events. From cooking unique side dishes to running off those holiday pounds, you'll have a "smashing time" at the following events:
For a complete list of November holiday events, please visit our November Events Calendar.
During your California Christmas vacation, dash through Santa Barbara in December. We're more than a winter beach vacation. Below, you'll discover holiday traditions that include a few of our favorite things, parades, trains and a toast to champagne.
For a complete list of December holiday events, please visit our December Event Calendar.
As a lover of Santa Barbara and even bigger lover of Santa Barbara wine, I’m happy to announce and cheers to Santa Barbara’s newest wine tasting neighborhood, the Wine Collection of El Paseo. Located in the heart of fine dining and high-end shopping on State Street, these 6 ultra-premium wine tasting rooms are the perfect pairing for an afternoon (or two!) of wining, dinning and shopping.
Photo By Mark Weber
But what sets this new tasting neighborhood apart from others in the area? The new Wine Collection of El Paseo features small-production, boutique wineries that produce ultra-premium wines sourced from local Santa Barbara County vineyards. In addition to tasting great wines, while you sip and swirl, you’ll be able to earn how these wines are locally crafted and about the terroir of where the grapes are grown in Santa Barbara County. It’s truly a grape to glass experience!
Tasting rooms of the Wine Collection of El Paseo includes Au Bon Climat Winery, Grassini Family Vineyards, Happy Canyon Vineyard, Jamie Slone Wines, Margerum Wine Company and MWC32.
Spend the afternoon in Downtown Santa Barbara and taste for yourself! All tasting rooms are open daily from 12-6 pm. Keep in mind the final tastings of the day begin no later than 5:30 pm.
Follow Grassini Family Vineyards on Instagram @grassinifamilyvineyards
For your epicure.sb insider tip, enjoy special tasting flights from:
Grassini Family Vineyards, featuring “Savor The Sauv” October 1-31
Jamie Slone Wines, featuring “Showtime at the Cabernet” October 1-31
Au Bon Climat Winery, featuring “Monster Mash Tasting Flight” October 24-31 and “Halloween” on October 31st
Have you ever taken a look at the purple and prickly shell of the sea urchin and thought, how am I supposed to eat that? Believe us, it's not as hard as it may appear, and the results are too delicious not to try. In Santa Barbara, sea urchin is our specialty, and we're here to show you how to crack and enjoy this local delicacy in 4 easy steps.
In honor of epicure.sb, a 31-day celebration of cuisine, libations and culture during the month of October, Stephanie Mutz, President of Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara is here to guide you and provide the inside scoop. Here we go:
Step 1: Open the urchin by turning it upside down with mouth facing up. Hold two spoons back to back and squeeze together.
We all know the struggle of deciding where you're going to take the next summer vacation. With travel bucket lists that are miles long, it's hard to settle on just one location. Luckily for you, the Santa Barbara South Coast the shining star on any travel wish list. While it's true that this majestic destination is great for visiting all year round, summer is definitely no exception, and we're here to provide 5 reasons why the Santa Barbara South Coast wins as a summer vacation hot spot.
1: Like any other sunny destination, the Santa Barbara South Coast provides 300+ days of sunshine a year. But what makes our sunshine even better? Our Mediterranean climate provides remarkably consistent daytime temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-70s, usually accompanied by low humidity and a gentle ocean breeze. Expect to remain refreshingly cool during those summer nights. What does that mean for you? Pack light and schedule plenty of time to explore the mountains, the sea, and everything in between.
2: In the Santa Barbara South Coast, we know how to celebrate. Specializing in festivals, summertime is packed with parades, celebrations, and plenty of family fun for all ages. In the summer months alone, there are 5+ annual celebrations that are accompanied by countless supporting events and activities. On any given weekend during the summer months, there is sure to be a festival celebrating Santa Barbara's rich heritage. So bring the confetti and get ready to fiesta!
(Photo By: Thomas Jacob)
3: As already stated above, summertime in Santa Barbara is great for being outside and relaxing in the breathtaking surroundings. Another way you can take in the great outdoors and satisfy your culinary cravings is to eat on your feet! What is that, you may ask? In the Santa Barbara South Coast, we're equipped with culinary tours, food trucks and plentiful outdoor patios for you to enjoy your eats and still be active on the Santa Barbara streets!
4: If relaxing in the summer sun and taking a sip of a refreshing libation sounds like a good time, you'll most definitely want to make your way to the Santa Barbara South Coast. Lovers of wine can uncork their way through the Urban Wine Trail or head to the Santa Ynez Valley for an afternoon of great wines and good times. More a beer lover? We've got 8 unique microbreweries to quench your thirst. Or if you're looking for spirits, Santa Barbara's Funk Zone includes hand crafted cocktails, made farm fresh and there's even a vodka distillery on location.
5: Family meets fun in the Santa Barbara South Coast. Kids of all ages are delighted to run, see, play, and do while on their stay. Full your days with 60+ kid and parent approved activities. Think educational mornings at the museum and active afternoons in our outdoor splendor. Parents can't go wrong with a family vacation to our sandy shoreline.
Photo By: Stephan Figge
"I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food..." -Julia Child
As we prepare our taste buds for the delectable flavors that will surely be available during the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend, the statement above couldn't be more fitting, especially for those who live (and cook) in the Santa Barbara South Coast. The immense bounty of our land is realized each night as dinner is served and a glass of Santa Barba County wine is poured. Because of our climate, there's never a shortage of seasonal foods and wines to pair. Not only does Santa Barbara have a thriving scene of farm-to-table eats, we're also known for our sea-to-table cuisine!
The beat of a Santa Barbara summer begins at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Warm summer nights under a diamond filled sky will set the stage for a season of unforgettable performances by world-famous entertainers. Did you know, the artists themselves even request to perform at this one-of-a-kind open air amphitheater? Because of its design, the sounds of summer are heard clearly from the front row, all the way to the top. And with an intimate setting chart of 4,900 seats, guests are pleased to know that there is not a bad seat in the house.
The Santa Barbara Bowl's 2014 Season Line-Up is set to impress, and more concerts will be announced as the season continues. Whether you are planning a summer road trip or week long getaway, be sure to include a concert at the Santa Barbara Bowl.
Can't wait to enjoy the sounds of Santa Barbra? Listen now with Visit Santa Barbara's Pandora Station.
Santa Barbara South Coast has a long history of protecting mother earth. In fact, did you know that the first ever Earth Day Celebration was held in Santa Barbara? With the creation of the Community Environmental Council in 1970, also brought birth to Earth Day in Santa Barbara.
Continuing the tradition into 2014, this year's two-day celebration in honor of our precious earth will be filled with entertainment, education and community! On April 26 - 27, bring your family and friends to come together at Alameda Park with 35,000 people from across the South Coast to celebrate, connect and recharge! A few highlights to Santa Barbara Earth Day 2014 will feature live bands, exhibitor booths, cultural and dance performances, art exhibits, green car show, Green Shorts Theater, an eco-market place, children's enchanted forest, a beer and wine garden and so much more! Did we mention this event is FREE to attend?!
Join us April 26 - 27 in Alameda Park, come car free, and be care free! Here are a few photos from last year's celebration:
Photo By Community Environmental Council
Bring your family and friends for an afternoon of eco-fun!
Photo By Erin Feinblatt
The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the vines of Santa Barbara wine country are growing with an abundance of grapes in preparation for this year's harvest. The newly budding vines mark the arrival of spring and the beginning of countless afternoons spent sipping world-class Santa Barbara wines, surrounded by our Mediterranean climate and breathtaking panoramic views that stretch from the Pacific Ocean to the Santa Ynez Mountains.
If you can already picture yourself kicking back with a glass of cool Chardonnay and thinking "one afternoon is simply not enough," then the Santa Barbara Vintners Spring Weekend is for you! With over 40+ wine events April 10-13, the annual Spring Weekend and Wine Festival attracts wine lovers from near and far to participate in one of a kind opportunities to attend wine maker lunches and dinners, winery and tasting room open houses, vineyard walks, a golf tournament, and even a Farm-to-Table picnic and concert. Events include a Wine & Dine Event held at The Fess Parker: A Doubletree by Hilton Resort on April 11th, where you'll sip 90+ point top rated wines and savor culinary creations prepared by some of Santa Barbara's top chefs. Fans of the Oscar winning movie Sideways can enjoy a shotgun-start golf tournament with host Rex Pickett, the author and playwright of Sideways at Sandpiper Golf Course in Goleta. Or if the open waters are calling your name, enjoy a two hour cruise aboard the "Channel Cat", a luxurious 42-foot catamaran, for a gourmet wine and food pairing event.
But of course, we can't forget the main attraction, the annual Vintners Festival Grand Tasting! During this event, every single one of the Santa Barbara Vintners 100+ members will gather together to present and sell their wines. Not to mention the additional pairings of food, music and art. Talk about savory! And, just like when you visit Santa Barbara wine country tasting rooms, many of the wines will be poured by the winemakers themselves.
If you are a wine lover like me, the problem will be selecting which one, two or all of these wonderful events to attend! It's the perfect opportunity for a romantic weekend getaway or perhaps a girl's weekend stay! For more information please visit, sbvintnersweekend.com
For our foodie friends and libation lovers, the tastes and plates available in Santa Barbara South Coast are guaranteed to send you into a delectable daze. With so many options to choose from, the list of Santa Barbara wine, food and beer to try can sometimes be overwhelming, although, this is a problem we happily embrace. But, thanks to Crown the Town, the challenge to try the best bites and sips of Santa Barbara has been made easy with Fork Fest 2014.
On Saturday April 5th, head on down to The Funk Zone (specifically Mason Street, between State and Anacapa) where you'll get try 9 Santa Barbara eateries as they come together to compete in a friendly fork-off competition to win your vote! Each vendor will prepare one delectable "forkful" of culinary excellence, in hopes that it will send your palate into paradise!
As your taste buds are sent into a tizzy, breweries, wineries and other spirits will be available while We the Beat (featuring Yoni Berk, aRod & DJ SB) provides musical entertainment. Clear your calendar, because this is one delicious event you don't want to miss! Tickets are all inclusive at only $55. Each admission ticket includes entry, a sample from each vendor, a selection of beer, wine and spirits (remember to drink responsibly) and of course, a great time!
The participating restaurants are:
Organic Soup Kitchen
State & Fig
Killer B's BBQ and Bar
Enterprise Fish Co.
Casa Blanca Restaurant
The Chase Bar & Grill
While you eat, enjoy beverages from:
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company
Cutler's Artisan Spirits
Sort This Out Cellars
Pali Wine Co.
Pure Order Brewing Company
Island Brewing Company
Last but not least, this event will not only provide unlimited amounts of fun for your Saturday afternoon, the event will also help raise funds for the Food Bank of Santa Barbara County. Each ticket sold to Fork Fest will provide two meals to those in need, in the hopes to provide 2,000 meals to help solve hunger issues on the Central Coast. Additionally, Fork Fest will be donating a portion of event proceeds to a new non-profit, Vow4Mal, which aims to eliminate drinking and driving and promotes smart choices for young people in Santa Barbara.
Time is running out and so are tickets! For more information and tickets, please visit crownthetown.com.
Now in its 69th year, the International Orchid Show returns to Santa Barbara March 14-16th. As one of the oldest and largest shows in the United States, hundreds of orchid species will be on display, as well as hybrids by over 50 exhibitors from the US, South America, and Asia.
As spring makes it way, Santa Barbara flowers are in full bloom. In fact, with our warm Mediterranean climate, Santa Barbara South Coast produces more orchids than any other region in the country! Additionally, our very own Carpinteria is home to the nation's "flower basket", the largest producing region of cut flower farms remaining in the United States! To honor this beautiful and delicate flower, here's a list of 5 interesting facts that are a must read before attending this must see event!
1. Orchids are the largest family of flowering plants. In fact, there are more than 25,000 documented orchid species throughout the world, and more are being discovered every day!
2. The vanilla orchid (and its vanilla bean) is the only commercially grown orchid crop. Who knew orchids could be so delicious!
3. Although generally thought of as a tropical plant, orchids grow on every continent, in every climate, from the Arctic Circle to the southernmost jungle (with the only exception of Antarctica).
4. From small to big, the smallest orchid is the size of a dime, while the largest weigh several hundred pounds
5. Having an orchid teaches patience. To grow an orchid, the plant's first flowers won't appear until at least 5 to 7 years after germination. And even then, some orchid flowers bloom for mere hours, while others last up to half a year.
Make sure to catch these flowers in boom and purchase your tickets to the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show. Not only will the orchid species be on display and for sale, attendees will get to see various demonstrations and art shows.
*Orchid facts were sourced from the Fair Child Garden
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