After the devastation from the Thomas fire and Montecito mudflow last winter, the all out effort to find an economic rebound for the area has been on. The Labor Day weekend is every bit a part of that. The Santa Barbara waterfront was full of foot traffic throughout the day as he early arrivals started coming into town and the local residents were, in some cases. trimming their week short. The trend is for the Labor Day weekend to close out summer, but the European tourism flow tends to carry through for at least the next two months. One couple was here for the weekend to attend a wedding byut decided to add a few days and enjoy Santa Barbara as their late summer getaway.
Damion Jablonski said “we decided to do another four days here. It’s been awesome. We really enjoy it. I would say this whole State Street and all the restaurants has been awesome. This is the one real vacation we’ve done this summer that was not just at home.”
Lower State street had a vibrancy it has not seen in recent Labor days when the area was struggling and less developed. Now with the new multi-story Hotel Californian open, along with many restaurants and a direct connection to the popular Funk Zone, some guests were spending hours in the area. A new hotel on the corner of Mason and State is in the final phase as well.
A visitor from Norway said he was please to be in a city the size of Santa Barbara and not have to face Los Angeles right away. Anders Veberg said, ” the place we are renting, it had the magazine, Santa Barbara magazine this was the Riviera of the U.S. and it seemed nice.” He was with Olav Eggesiu who said this was a comfortable start to their trip. “G etting to a big city it can be strange and confusing for a Norweigian and so we have to go somewhere smaller.” Nearby there were many bustling touring vehicles, shuttles, and inquisitive travelers making a plan for their one or more day excursions. An economic summit discussion about the future of the business district, the local economy and the nationwide trends will be held next week and feature local data along with presenters from other areas that have had a revitalization.