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Countdown to Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration is on

Summer Solstice Workshop artists and volunteers prepare floats and costumes for upcoming parade and celebration

SANTA BARBARA, Calif-The countdown the Summer Solstice Celebration is on at the Summer Solstice Workshop through the ironworks gate made by David Shelton.

Artists and volunteers are busy making floats and costumes for the return of the parade that will be on a new path this year. Instead of going along State Street, the 48th parade will go along Santa Barbara Street, starting at Ortega St. at noon on Saturday, June 25th.

This year the festival will be held on Friday and Saturday June 24-25 at Alameda Park .

It is considered the largest art event around and the artists involved are inspired by this year's theme; Shine!

Although you won't see sponsor logos in the parade there are some sponsors behind the scenes and sponsorship opportunities.

Carlos Cuellar is an artist in resident making a paper mache sculpture that is sponsored by Sierra Nevada and looks like one of the company's Strainge Beast Ginger, Lemon & Hibiscus drink labels.

Grace Falzone-Miller is a brand manager from Ventura and said this will be her first parade.

Artist and engineer Pali Szilvassy met his new bride Raven at a yoga class he teaches and they are letting their love shine through their moving work of art this year.

He is known for creating balloons that showcase aerial dancers.

Karen Luckett and unicyclist Robert Bernstein are among his volunteers.

Claudia Bratton who oversaw the event for 16 years as executive director is still working on a float.

She is inspired by Asian elephants and said she is looking for junior artists who can earn some community service hours.

"They will get to work with whatever artist they want here an they will learn all sorts of techniques including some household building skills with saws and things like that," said Bratton, "and they can also get their community service hours and I have some money for some honorariums."

Her work pays homage to the celebration created by the late artist and mime Michael Gonzales in 1974 to celebrate his birthday.

Jeff Dutcher and his husband David Machacek are almost done adding bling to a giant Derby Ducky.

Dutcher is inspired by a duck derby fundraiser his mother used to put on in support of mental health.

Their duck will also go to Burning Man in August where it will be part of a "squeak-easy."

The solstice workshop also includes a sewing room.

Artist in residence Lisa Thomas said city officials will be passing the hat collecting donations in outfits they create.

She is making sure they Shine! in gold while they ask for green.

Phylss Cohen has been sewing outfits with help from Estrella and others.

She said she will be dressed as Mother Earth holding a cosmic lollipop of love and light.

They all hope people enjoy their creativity and come see the parade in action or better yet be in the parade.

Participants may sign up at the workshop most weekday afternoons from here on out.

For more information visit solsticeparade.com

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here

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