Summer Solstice Parade Honors Heroes and Delights the Crowd
Click through the above slideshow of the 2018 Santa Barbara Solstice Parade (Photos: Fritz Olenberger)
Thousands gathered along State Street for the annual Summer Solstice Parade on Saturday that honored local heroes from the natural disaster events.
The 44th annual event hosted the usual charm and whimsy with colorful floats and costumes, energetic dancers, and quirky characters.
This year's theme is "Heroes" honoring local first responders and organizations who helped during the Thomas Fire and Montecito Mudslide. The Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade, a non-profit that literally helps Montecito residents dig mud out of their homes and yards, started the parade with the La Boheme dancers.
Before the parade began, a small group of activists walked ahead of the floats protesting the current presidential administration and Immigration Customs Enforcement's (ICE) jailing of innocent children at the border. There was a smattering of applause from the audience, with a steady amount of boos. One woman nearby walked up and got in the face of a protestor exchanging words, while Santa Barbara Police officers on bicycles kept the peace and politely asked the woman to sit down.
Not long after, dancers and floats slowly made their way up the street on the steady incline. Through all the excitement, the edhat staff did not forget to keep an eye out for drums. In years past, the parade had hundreds and hundreds of drums being counted, but as of late, the drums seem to be dwindling. It took halfway through the parade to see more than a lone drummer marching up the street. But even then there weren't that many.
For those who entered the contest, the edhat staff counted 68 drums in this year's parade. Click here to see who won the contest.
As the parade came to a close, spectators walked to Alameda Park where bands played on the stage and local vendors set up booths selling everything from organic lotion to fairy wings.
Just a few blocks away from the park was the 8th Annual Summer Solstice Bash at a private home that opened their doors to not only friends, but passersby to listen to bands on a small, yet state of the art, soundstage. Local band Key Party blew the crowd away with their coordinated outfits and engaging musical stylings.
The Summer Solstice festival is a Santa Barbara staple and there is much fun to be had. Scroll through photos below for parade highlights.