Final 2024 Solstice Workshop Fun and Help Needed

Santa Barbara Summer Solstice is in the final stretch to get everything built and ready for the parade on June 22! Everyone is welcome and help is very much needed! You can stop by and take a look at the Workshop at the corner of Ortega Street and Garden Street.

Here are my many photos of progress arranged in galleries by day!

The theme this year is “Flights of Fancy”, but that can cover a wide range of meanings.

It has been fun watching these big projects come together. Here Serena was getting started on her Chitty Chitty Bang Bang flying car.

Here it is almost finished.

Here Irene Ramirez (L) was just getting started decorating the frame of her flying pig.

Here it is almost finished.

The Carey family is back for another whimsical family project. Here Emily Carey was just getting started.

Here it was underway in the paper mache stage (Emily at right).

Here Polly (Paulina) Carey (R) posed with friends with the nearly finished project.

Jim Sun Bear is the construction wizard and workshop manager, as well as creator of his own ensemble.

The Mask Shop is a key place of Solstice creation. Emma-Jane Huerta (R) posed with my friend Mary Price. Mary is helping to create my costume this year.

Here Emma-Jane shows off one of her mask creations.

And here is the head piece Mary is making for me.

Laura Smith created her own ensembles for many years. She now lives in Minnesota. She has returned to run the Costume Shop. Here she took a short break with Bella Donna (L).

Robby Robbins is most well known for his giant puppets. He now lives in Kentucky, but he is back for Solstice, creating a Muppets ensemble. Here he holds up a piece he is working on.

Mae Logan is back, creating a “Murmuration” ensemble.

Diane Arnold was a Solstice Board member for many years. Here she was getting started on her creative project made from cardboard boxes.

Here she is almost finished.

Rich McLaughlin is not only the husband of Emma-Jane, but a renowned artist in his own right. Here he is creating a Concorde Super Sonic Transport and my friend Tova is posing with him.

Of course Pali is back to create a whole new Grande Finale inflatable art piece. Which will have aerial artists flying inside. I will be riding my unicycle in his ensemble.

After decades of this challenging work, this will be his last year creating this Grand Finale ensemble. Here he posed with Jeremy (L) who is in training to take over in the future. At right is community volunteer Alexia Acosta, who will be leaving the country to visit family just before Solstice.

Solstice is all about community and that includes sharing meals together. Master Chef Dusty Williams prepared an array of sushi and people lined up to enjoy it.

Get on over to the Workshop and Sara Rothschild will help you register with a smile.

Again, there are many ways to get involved in Solstice. If you have a big idea, you can create your own ensemble. An ensemble does not necessarily involve a float. It can be a group of people in costume doing a performance. Many ensembles are dance groups. Others provide music. Some years ago several of us unicyclists played a game with several other people dressed as traffic cones, forming a slalom course that made its way up the street!

An ensemble can even be just one person inside some interesting float.

Most people prefer to join an ensemble that is already underway. You can help build floats, sew costumes and help with painting, carving, gluing or making paper mache. If you don’t know how, you can learn new skills! I already knew how to do construction with power tools, painting and paper mache. But I decided to learn something new. The costume shop people were very patient with teaching me to use the sewing machines and cut out patterns in fabric.

Pullers are needed to pull the floats up the parade route and back afterwards. In some cases that pays money and you get to be in the parade!

There truly is a place for everyone in the community to be a part of this community event!

The Workshop is at the corner of Ortega and Garden Street. It is open every day as it gets closer to parade time. Come by and see the excitement, energy and creativity! And feel free to lend a hand! Everyone is welcome!

Robert Bernstein

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Written by sbrobert

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