Summertime is just around the corner! People all over the world 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! So plan ahead and don't forget to have fun!
Summer Solstice Parade began in 1974. It was then celebrated as a birthday party for a well-known artist and mime named Michael Gonzales. Soon enough, the merriment was tied up with a Summer Solstice Music Festival sponsored by The Santa Barbara Museum of Art which was then staged in the early years at the Sunken Gardens to celebrate the longest day of the year.
This has been the largest art event of its kind that is being celebrated in Santa Barbara County. Due to the massive number of people who wants to celebrate with and came from everywhere, the Parade and Festival 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.
From a simple commemoration, It has evolved into a creative and original display of whimsical creatures, giant puppets, floats, and masks of more than 1,000 participants of all ethnic and economic backgrounds. It is a day full of dancing, drama, music, and drumming, that would enthrall any and all spectators.
This year, Santa Barbara will be hosting it's annual Summer Solstice celebrations on the coming weekend of June 22nd through 24th. The festival now opens on June 22nd, 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.
Such festivities would never be complete without activities for the children. At high noon on Saturday, June 23rd is a special free children’s festival and a DJ area will be set up for dancing and enjoying techno music and a large drum circle keeps the beat going all afternoon. The Children's area will feature a stage with storytellers, musicians, juggling, air slides, face painting and free art projects. The kids do have their own parade, last year's theme was named as "Unity Under the Sea". We are very excited to know what will be the theme for this year. The said parade will make for a very interesting concluding events for this year's grand merriment.
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 afterward, floats from the parade will be sparkling and radiating with giddily exuberant crowds.