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50th anniversary of the Santa Barbara Summer Solstice event comes with sunshine and thousands of spectators

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Thousands of sun lovers, art lovers and music lovers will bring their silly side to the streets of Santa Barbara over the weekend for one of the most fun and unique parades in the country.

The Summer Solstice Parade celebrates 50 years, since it was invented on a whim by a small group dancing their way up the street for a birthday party.

It's turned into a sanctioned Santa Barbara event with amazing energy, community support and creativity from all ages.

There are no logos, no motorized vehicles, and human power is the driving force.

The final touches are in place. The theme for the floats and costumes is: Flights of Fancy.

Artist Carlos Cuellar said, "everybody loves Solstice. There's a a lot of people that come from the city and locals getting together to cheer the artists which is the heart of the city."

The workshop has been bustling for about a month.

The artists and dancers can't wait to see the crowds but it will still be a performance and a workout in  what's expected to be 75 degree sunny weather.

Emma Jane Huerta has been part of the parade and workshop activities for about 20 years.

"It's a wonderful feeling.  You are proud of what you have done but you have to concentrate because just pushing something or dancing up the street is no mean fete. It is seven or eight blocks slightly up hill," she said.

The parade will be Saturday, June 22 at noon. It starts on Santa Barbara Street at Ortega Street. The route is straight up into Alameda Park where a three-day festival is held. A crowd of over 50,000 is expected.

Many will be in costumes or have faces painted to reflect and be part of the passing parade energy.

Chairs and viewing spots were cordoned off for many people Friday night.

Friday features an evening music show with several bands, and serves as a warm up of what's to come in the park.

Sunday there will be a finale with a KJEE - One Plant - Reggae in the Park show, also at Alameda Park.

For more information go to : Summer Solstice Celebration

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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