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New Summer Solstice parade route impacts street parking and Saturday Farmers’ Market

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With the new Summer Solstice parade route in Santa Barbara, there will be impacts to the Farmers' Market and several blocks in downtown where the festive performers appear.

The parade starts at noon Saturday.

The route begins a short distance from the Solstice workshop headquarters on Ortega Street at Garden Street.

Floats and performers will gather at Santa Barbara Street and Ortega Street and begin moving up towards their festival site at Alameda Park on Sola Street.

The parade has been moved to this route because State Street, the normal path has been converted to a promenade with outside dining areas.

Those who are planning to view the parade from the curb line can find spots on every block but unlike the normal route on State Street the capacity will be less.

The Farmers' Market takes place Saturday mornings in a city parking lot on Cota Street at Santa Barbara Street. The one-way section on Santa Barbara Street will be converted to a lane in each direction with police traffic controls to assist drivers in and out of the market parking lot on the Employment Development Department property.

Over the years, the parade has been an economic boost for the city with large crowds not only in the area of the parade route, but many regional events will be taking place. Decorations have been encouraged at local businesses and special flags are flying on State Street.

Teresa Nowak Kuskey leads the enthusiastic La Boheme Dancers at the start of the parade.  They have been rehearsing for weeks.  "We are so excited to be back. 80 dancers will be back (including)  20 children."

The participants who were sidelined by the pandemic for two years, are beaming over the event now in its 48th year. "Our last practice last night was amazing. They are ready, they are strong they are confident and we are ready to show off," she said. 

The Cork and Fork 805 radio show kicked off the weekend with a live broadcast at the Chase restaurant downtown.  Host Drew Wakefield talked about the one-of-a-kind event, all of the details, and explained how it was part of Santa Barbara's vibrant summer ahead.

Many people booked tables ahead of time to see the live show.

There's still an opportunity for more people to still join in to the parade.

Summer Solstice Executive Director Robin Elander said, "we do not use vehicles. It's all hand and people powered.  It takes 200 volunteers to make solstice come to life.  It's powered by community. "

It's also very interactive with the audience.

Solstice Artistic Director Ricardo Morrison said, "it is a collage of events so when you see a parade it is not like looking at that object, it is how does that object flow with the other objects."

The new route provides new viewing areas. Places to eat and shop before and after the event will be passed by thousands of people and some will go inside.

 Kuskey said,  "I am pretty  inspired to be on Santa Barbara Street, I find it wider.  All the historical sites. We are going by the Presidio and the historical museum and the courthouse. So it's really nice."   

Even though the parade will be two blocks to the East of State Street the goal is to have those spectators eventually come around to State street where the parade is usually happening.

A special display of flags are flying throughout the downtown area.

Special art work can be found at area businesses, and in many areas of the city.

This event is also an economic booster for Santa Barbara, like many cities,  hoping for a big summer season to rebound from the COVID crisis.

Article Topic Follows: Events
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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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