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Building Santa Barbara’s Solstice Parade

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.

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“Sci Fi” is the theme for this year’s Santa Barbara Solstice Parade (photo Lisa Osborn)

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!

Artist Geoffrey Barber (left) gets help from master builder to finish off his time machine in time for Solstice (Photo Lisa Osborn)

Artist Geoffrey Barber (left) gets help from a master builder to finish off his time machine in time for Solstice (Photo Lisa Osborn)

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.

Solstice web_cloud 1Artist 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

Volunteers show off their creativity in between Solstice float building (Photo Traffic411)

Volunteers show off their creativity in between Solstice float building (Photo Traffic411)

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Find out more about Santa Barbara’s CAW in this video

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Wine & Art Fans Love Santa Barbara’s “2nd Saturdays”

Oreana Winery & Marketplace on Anacapa St. hosts a parking lot party during the Funk Zone Art Walk. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Oreana Winery & Marketplace on Anacapa St. hosts a parking lot party during the Funk Zone Art Walk. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Looking for a fun one-day getaway on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner? Check out “The Funk Zone Art Walk” in Santa Barbara.

It takes place on the second Saturday of every month in the ‘Funk Zone,’ a renovated industrial area that’s now home to galleries, artist lofts, wine bistros and restaurants.

The Santa Barbara Art Foundry hosted a wine reception during the Funk Zone Art Walk in August. I enjoyed looking at their artwork, including several Erte statues. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

The Santa Barbara Art Foundry hosted a wine reception during the Funk Zone Art Walk in August. I enjoyed looking at their artwork, including several Erte statues. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

The Art Walk features an array of unique exhibits, as well as live music, wine, craft beers and more.

When I was there in August, The Arts Fund Gallery hosted a super cool interactive exhibit called “Ruckus,” where guests could create colorful moving images using our voice and body. It was fun experiencing a gallery where you’re actually encouraged to touch the artwork 🙂

Visitors to the Funk Zone Art Walk sample boutique wines at AVA Santa Barbara. The wine bistro is a passion project of winemaker Seth Kunin of Kunin Wines. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).

Visitors to the Funk Zone Art Walk sample boutique wines at AVA Santa Barbara. The wine bistro is a passion project of winemaker Seth Kunin of Kunin Wines. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411).

The Funk Zone is located just off of State Street in downtown Santa Barbara. It’s a few blocks from the beach, and a short walk from the Amtrak Station. There are plenty of restaurants, and the ‘main drag’ of State Street is nearby, so if you enjoy walking, there’s plenty of things to see.

And, since the Pacific Surfliner hugs the coast (when you get north of Camarillo), there’s plenty of pretty scenery along the way. This is a fun train adventure for wine and art lovers from Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura and San Luis Obispo.

Pali Wine Co. is one of many comfy spots in Santa Barbara's Funk Zone to relax and enjoy a favorite beverage. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Pali Wine Co. is one of many comfy spots in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone to relax and enjoy a favorite beverage. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Upcoming (2nd Saturday) Funk Zone Art Walks: September 13; October 11; November 8. Click this link for further dates & more information.

Traffic411 Insider Tip: Make your Amtrak reservation in advance, trains get crowded on Art Walk Saturdays.

Distance from LAX: 96 Miles

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