Image Source: Cody Duncan Photography
It's Summertime! People the world over venerate spending wonderful days under the sun and here in Santa Barbara, we get to celebrate the onset of summer; the time of the longest days, in revelry, music and the arts!
Summer Solstice Parade began in 1974 as a birthday party for a celebrated artist and mime named Michael Gonzales. Consequently, the merriment was tied up with a Summer Solstice Music Festival sponsored by The Santa Barbara Museum of Art which was staged in the early years at the Sunken Gardens to celebrate the longest day of the year.
Image Source: The Santa Barbara Company
This Parade and Festival is the largest arts event of its kind in Santa Barbara County and has since moved the location of the event from the Sunken Garden to the Alameda Park to accommodate the huge number of both the participants and the spectators alike.
It has evolved into a creative and original display of floats, giant puppets, whimsical creatures and masks of more than 1,000 participants of all ethnic and economic backgrounds. There is dancing, music, drumming and drama that would enthrall any and all spectators.
Image Source: LoaTree
This year, Santa Barbara will be hosting it's annual Summer Solstice celebrations this coming weekend June 23rd through 25th. The festival now opens on June 23rd, Friday afternoon and will commemorate "evening events of years past". It is a special evening showcasing local talents with music, dance, and other performances. Some of the parade ensembles are featured as well as the food booths and the arts and crafts vendors.
At high noon on Saturday, June 24th, also considered as the longest day of the year, creative floats, fascinating masks and brilliant costumes will transform Santa Barbara into a vibrant splash of color, music, and dance. A large "drum circle" formed by participants will keep the beat going the whole day and afterwards, floats from the parade will be parked along Micheltorena Street for close-up inspection.
Image Source: Macaroni Kid
Sunday festivities would then include activities for the children. The Children's area will feature a stage with storytellers, musicians, juggling, air slides, face painting and free art projects. The kids will then have their own parade at 2PM with this year's theme named as "Unity Under the Sea", the said parade will make for a very interesting concluding events for this year's grand merriment.