Highway 101 through Santa Barbara will be busy this weekend, as tens of thousands of people stream into town for the annual Summer Solstice Celebration. The festival in Alameda Park begins Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday, but the biggest draw of the weekend will be the Solstice Parade, which begins on State Street on Saturday at noon.
This year’s theme is “Sci Fi” so there will no doubt be plenty of ‘close encounters’ with all things Alien. No commercial or motorized floats are allowed. This parade uses 100% human power, so there will be plenty of pure creativity on display. Artists, float builders and volunteers have been working for weeks on their Solstice creations, making sure they’ll be ready for their ‘close up’ this weekend.
I got a sneak peek of the entries being built at Santa Barbara’s new Community Arts Workshop. While the Solstice crew has worked here before, thanks to generous community donations, “The CAW” is now the permanent home for Solstice float building. The Solstice Parade’s artistic director, Riccardo Morrison, explains what is so great about having a permanent home base at The CAW.
Artist in residence Geoffrey Barber has participated in plenty of Solstice Parades. This year he’s creating a time machine. Barber tells me what he likes best about Solstice, and how he’s had to improvise in past years, enlisting parade spectators to help power his float along the parade route. Click on the SoundCloud below to listen to Geoffrey’s entertaining stories!
Santa Barbara teenager Will Hahn tells me he’s been participating in the Solstice Parade for most of his life. His father brought him here for the first time when he was three years old. Will describes what he’s building this year, and offers a tip for getting the most out of your Solstice experience.
Artist in residence John Sinclair has been participating in Solstice since he was a student in Santa Barbara. Now living on the east coast, Sinclair returned to town to build his creation, “The Cloud.” And, this isn’t just a cloud in the sky, “it’s THE Cloud, as in the one where all of your personal information is stored.”
Sinclair explains, “Science fiction this year is the theme, and so, I thought, what is more science fiction than we’ll all day just be part of the cloud and not human entities anymore?” Click the Soundcloud to hear John explain how he crafted his Cloud.
To my delight, Sinclair invited me to be in the parade as part of the cloud! I’m very excited so, if you are at the Solstice Parade, look for me, in the cloud!
The parade starts at noon on Saturday, June 20th, at Cota & State Street. A Solstice Celebration in Alameda Park runs from Friday Afternoon through Sunday, for details go to SolsticeParade.com
Traffic411 Insider Tip: If you want to see the parade, plan to arrive at least two hours early. Park near Alameda Park so you can enjoy the festival after the parade.
Distance from LAX: 97 Miles
Find out more about Santa Barbara’s CAW in this video