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Summer Solstice festivities sprout the ‘Bloom’ theme throughout Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The release of new COVID-19 rules this month has event planners filled with renewed enthusiasm, including the organizers of the Summer Solstice celebration in Santa Barbara.

Even though there wasn't enough time to put a parade together, there will be festivities throughout the city for this 47th event.

Already, many homes and businesses have decorations in line with the theme "Bloom."

The exterior of homes in many neighborhoods have decorations including large flowers on their doors and fences with a bright welcoming spirit to welcome the season and help spread the enthusiasm that would have come, had the city held a weekend festival.

Summer Solstice Executive Director, Robin Elander said, "people are decorating their homes and businesses, there are pop up installations around town."

Organizers were as creative in their reinvention of the event as they are with their art.

Elander said, "there are more than probably 50 activities throughout downtown as well as and the entire community throughout Santa Barbara,  so very exciting stuff!"

  New art installations large and small have been created to add color and creativity like you would see at many other holidays.

Summer Solstice Artistic Director Riccardo Morrison said, "they can make something at their home in a way that the celebration can spread to the whole city so the city of Santa Barbara  is 'blooming'".

He emphasized the people going to the locations where art, music and pop-up activities are taking place creates "the parade experience." Morrison said, "you are now the parade going from thing to thing that is the parade."

There is also an hour-long video prepared called the Summer Solstice Celebration Virtual State Street Parade. It was filmed at the Community Arts Workshop and several other locations.

It will be aired on KEYT NewsChannel 3 and local cable TVSB on June 27th. 

Members of the public have also sent in their videos and photos with their Solstice Spirit for 2021.

"I think  this is even a keeper," said Morrison. "And in the future continue the idea of installations so that it  spreads the energy out. "

A special one hour movie has been made about the Summer Solstice event for 2021 with highlights from past years. It was shot in several locations around the city over several weeks.

Some of the solstice parade's most decorated participants appear along with a lavish Marie Antotette dance routine by the La Boheme dancers at a private estate.    

 The movie is free at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Arlington theatre.

"Then we have an opportunity for a meet with the artists afterwards, take photos and then we can take a little stroll down the streets  in our costumes," said Elander.

The Summer Solstice event package annually is funded in part by the City of Santa Barbara, along with donations. In return, the city sees a solid infusion of tourists, along with a boost in sales and transient occupancy taxes. It has been considered one of the biggest events of the year in Santa Barbara, along with Old Spanish Days, the 4th of July waterfront fireworks, and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Hotels often have maximum occupancy.

The event is also expected to bring out spontaneous dancing, costumed people strolling the streets in the business districts and neighborhoods, and a vibrant nightlife on the State Street Promenade.

For more information go to: Santa Barbara Summer Solstice.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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