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Renewed enthusiasm and a new route all part of the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice celebration

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - One of the most creative summer kickoff events in the country, the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice celebrations, comes back after COVID with a new route and renewed enthusiasm.

It takes place Saturday June 25 at noon. The theme is "Shine."

The route is normally on State Street through downtown with a crowd that has reached an estimated 100,000 in the past.

This year it will be on Santa Barbara Street from Ortega St. to Alameda Park. There, a festival experience will take place.

It follows a pre-party with live music Friday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The State Street promenade design in place now prevents the parade event through that location.

The return of the parade, the design workshop and the new route have created new excitement for the event and new opportunities for participants to showcase their artistic work to a large crowd backed by widespread media coverage.

Santa Barbara Street will be shut down to traffic during the parade and police will direct drivers to detour.

The workshop to design floats and costumes is located on Garden St. at Ortega. It is open every day this week for those who want to be in the parade and have last minute ideas, or want to help others.

Summer Solstice Executive Director Robin Elander says they are spreading the work all this week. "We have had some teams of people going out door to door, along the route letting them know."


 To create the show, hundreds of participants will have clever costumes and hopefully they are in shape, the floats are  human powered.

While working on one Matt Weber laughed,  "they tell me it is slightly lower  incline on Santa Barbara Street  but when you get half way, you're tired.  You're tired anyway!"


Costume makers are sewing, designing and fitting their materials.  A special hat is in the works and it will be worn by Mayor Randy Rowse.

Designer Barbara Logan said, "he actually came and tried it on.  He didn't try on the hat yet so that's a surprise, so we will see how brave he is!"

Being on Santa Barbara Street offers some new view corridors for the people coming out to see the parade.

Some of the business owners are hoping new customers will come by and come back again after the parade is over.

Jen Steinwurtzel owns the Jake and Jones boutique on Canon Perdido Street near Santa Barbara Street.  He staff is set for the parade.  "It's a really busy season in general with lots of tourists coming in already and it's our end of season sale so you can see we have lots of people coming in for the sale and we are well stocked. We are ready. "


Being an economic stimulus is part of the festival's impact for the city.


Elander said,  "it's a great time to take advantage of it. Talk to them, the people who are coming, do something special maybe have a party at your business and enjoy."


The festive feel is expected to be felt in many other areas along with downtown "We have a decor contest right now and we are really encouraging  people to shine for solstice!"

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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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