5 Reasons Not to Miss Summer Solstice in Santa Barbara

You know the expression, “everyone loves a parade”? Well Santa Barbara LOVES a parade. It seems like every holiday, between holidays and most any day that ends in Y, this town has a parade. But the hands down local’s favorite is our Summer Solstice Celebration. The festival kicks off on Friday June 20 at 4 pm in Alameda Park but the real pinnacle is the parade, which starts at 12:00 pm on Saturday. You may be wondering what’s so great about a bunch of people in the road and lining the street? The honest truth is just about everything.

Summer solstice in santa barbara

A few reasons why we think you shouldn’t miss Solstice.

  1. It’s so grassroots. It started in 1974 as a birthday celebration for an artist and mime and simply expanded from there. Talk to anyone who has lived in Santa Barbara long enough and they will likely have either been in the parade or helped work on a costume or float.
  2. Creativity abounds. People spend most of the year working on floats and costumes, made mostly at the Solstice Workshop, an incredible place abuzz with inspiring people. Many of the designs make use of recycled and repurposed items, making it that much more amazing.
  3. You never know what will happen. Yes, there are the standard jaw droppers like the perpetually talented samba dancers and capoeira players. Sure, the kids are always adorable and unpredictable. But this much humanity and creativity stewed together in the sunshine that regularly bathes our sweet town just makes for a great back-drop of spontaneity and fun. Last year a couple got married during the parade, joined by a costumed entourage of friends and their previously constructed float pulled by a satyr. Memorable to be sure.
  4. Not a brand in sight. No, seriously. Commercial elements such as advertising, brand placement and commodification are simply not allowed in the parade and the absence is refreshing.
  5. It is THE place to be. Over a 100,000 people from all over the world seek out Santa Barbara’s Solstice weekend.

Won’t you join us?