35th Annual Parade of Lights Returns!

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Source: City of Santa Barbara

On Sunday, December 12th, come enjoy one of Santa Barbara’s signature holiday events – the 35th Annual Parade of Lights. All event activities are FREE!

Beginning at noon families can visit a Winter Wonderland on the City Pier in Santa Barbara Harbor. There will be holiday elves, 10 tons of snow to play in, and holiday music. It is rumored Santa may make an appearance but there will be no sit-with-Santa photos.

Different from years past, the Human-Powered category competition will be held during daylight at 4 p.m. Dozens of standup paddlers and kayakers dressed in festive attire will loop Stearns Wharf spreading holiday cheer. 

At 5 p.m. a holiday tree lighting ceremony will be held on the shoreward finger of Stearns Wharf next to the Sea Center. Then, at 5:30 p.m., around 30 illuminated watercraft, bedecked to this year’s theme, “Magic Under the Moonlight” will light up the night as they make their way from Leadbetter Beach down the coast to the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion, then back along the coast to Stearns Wharf. 

The parade will be capped off by a brief but spectacular fireworks show. Best viewing locations for the boat parade and fireworks include Stearns Wharf, the breakwater, West Beach, and East Beach. 

Registration for the competition is now open and, as always, it’s free to enter! Participants can enter one of five categories: Human-powered, Power, Sail, Commercial Fishing, or Commercial Other. Pick up your entry form at the Waterfront offices, or click here to fill it out and submit online. There will be thousands of dollars worth of prizes!

Also new to the event this year will be an opportunity to give back to the community. The Waterfront Department is teaming up with Toys for Tots to bring some holiday cheer to those in need. Donation boxes will be set up at the City Pier and on Stearns Wharf next to the Holiday Tree. Just bring new, un-gift-wrapped toys, books, and stocking stuffers (preferably avoiding plush toys due to sanitary reasons) for age groups one to 14.

This year’s event is sponsored by the 2021 Parade of Lights Committee, City of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department, Santa Barbara Harbor Merchants Association, Stearns Wharf Business Association, and Santa Barbara Yacht Club. 

So mark your calendars to get in the holiday spirit Santa Barbara style and head down to the Waterfront for an afternoon and evening of fun at the 35th Annual Parade of Lights on Sunday, December 12th. Visit www.SantaBarbaraCA.gov/ParadeofLights for additional details.

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