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2021 Milpas Holiday Parade will also be an economic boost for the Eastside community

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Without a State Street downtown parade this year, the Milpas Holiday Parade will be the largest event of its kind this year in the month of December in Santa Barbara.

It takes place Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The route will go from De la Guerra Street to Mason Street.

Over 30 entries will be in the parade, including three marching bands, custom lowrider cars, local dignitaries and Santa Claus.

The Milpas Holiday Parade called a Neon Navidad, takes place Saturday Dec. 11 starting at 5:30 p.m. in Santa Barbara.

The theme is, A Neon Navidad.

Tino De Guevara, Santa Barbara Eastside Society President, says he expects to see people coming out early to set up their chairs and enjoy food and shopping throughout the area.

The parade is also expected to be a stimulus for the area, especially for residents who have not spent much time in the diverse corridor that's loaded with locally-owned businesses. Business owners are hoping that those who come to that event will come back to enjoy the diversity and culture of this street.

In recent weeks the streets have come alive with a variety of decorations on light poles, in shopping centers and all over private homes. It is one of the most colorful areas of the city during the season.

De Guevara said, "We've got over 30 entries and people are still coming in and requesting if they can join. We want them to. We want as many people as we can out here."

He said after a a quiet 2020, "We're hope to build this up so this is memorable."


  Downtown Santa Barbara had a tree lighting event Friday, but no parade.
natural sound of parade

De Guevara said, "what's a parade without a marching band and we have three of them.   We have Santa Barbara High,  Santa Barbara Junior High and we have this group that jut plays oldies Christmas music. "

For Ozzy Mejia at Los Altos Restaurant, the crowd coming Friday night will be welcomed there and at a variety of nearby businesses. "I like the fact that it has a little bit of everything.  It has random places that you don't even know exist." He says many are locally owned and operated,   "but it has always been mom and pop shops, that's what's great about Milpas."

De Guevara said , "we hope people will come back and participate and buy things."

The area is lined with colorful decorations now all the way to the traffic circle and more will be going up at parade route businesses later this week.

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John Palminteri

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

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