Summer Solstice Through the Eyes of Children

By David Powdrell, Co-Chair of the Carpinteria Arts Center 

So, here’s the deal…the Summer Solstice Parade is a magical annual event that engages adults, grandparents and children to play and dance and get goofy together on the streets of Santa Barbara together. 

Through the expression of art, the community builds massive human-powered vehicles, we see giant stilt walkers, witches, dragons and princesses.  There are dancers and drummers everywhere.      

Art creates innovation; massive balloons with trapeze artists inside, a walking tyrannosaurus rex, human powered butterflies and so much more.

Art creates teamwork; visit the Summer Solstice Workshop in May sometime.  It’s a bevy of teams frantically creating artistic masterpieces on budgets of mere pennies. 

Having been a parade participant with my family and friends for 5 years, then serving on the board of directors for 4 years, I now discover that my greatest joy is photographing the event, especially the children.  It’s the wide-eyed wonder of children watching their parents and grandparents smiling and laughing while the entire family is dressed up in neon colored wigs and faces painted wildly that intrigues me.  Through the Summer Solstice Parade, many children are getting their first taste of art in public places, collaborative arts education and just getting silly with mom and dad in a safe environment.

Children are incredibly smart; I can almost see the gears in their heads turning as they evaluate the orchestrated chaos, study the masks and costumes to confirm reality, and, most times, they join in to celebrate the wonder of it all. 

I’m grateful that we in Santa Barbara have the opportunity to celebrate and play together through the Summer Solstice Parade.  Thank you to everyone that volunteers, participates and supports the Summer Solstice Parade.  It really is a magical event for Santa Barbara. 

The arts matter.  Possibly now more than ever before. 

More photos at:

David Powdrell

Written by David Powdrell

David Powdrell is a Carpinteria resident, photographer, and C.P.A. He often shares his photos and musings with edhat readers. See more of his photos at

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