The Santa Barbara French Festival will return to Oak Park July 14-15 to celebrate Bastille Day and all the things that make the French cultural history so rich — including great food, wine, mimosas, crepes, pastries, music, dance and, of course, the famous Poodle Parade.
The 24th Annual Santa Barbara French Festival is a community event not to be missed. It’s a dance festival, a music festival, an arts and crafts festival, and a food festival. It’s also a fundraising event for two great Santa Barbara area nonprofits, Center Stage Theater and Speaking of Stories.
For two days Santa Barbara truly is the American Riviera as the French influences take over Oak Park. The fun will begin each day at 11 a.m., when the entertainment kicks off on three stages and continues nonstop until 7 p.m. The stages will be filled with performers from Santa Barbara and all over California coming in from Los Angeles and as far as the Bay Area. Thirty acts will fill the three stages with dance and music, including performances and even instruction.
In the mood to watch some Can-Can or Tahitian dancers? Or maybe you’d like to learn how to do some traditional folk dancing or Cajun waltzes. It’s all here — and more.
If music is more your style, there’s Santa Barbara favorite Kalinka and the Montecito Jazz Project, or tribute performance to Edith Piaf and Django Reinhardt, and even the French Johnny Cash. “Folsom Prison Blues” in French is a treat you won’t want to miss!
The finale of each day of entertainment will be a wild and wonderful performance by the Femmes Fatales, Santa Barbara’s favorite Drag Revue. And every minute of entertainment is all free!
But the entertainment is only part of what the festival has to offer. More than 50 booths will be offering everything from crepes and delicious French pastries to face painting and henna tattoos. You can grab a mimosa or a beer, as you peruse some beautiful paintings and photography.
Enjoy a delicious Le Hot Dog while shopping for your French Festival t-shirt and beret. Take a moment for a quick massage and browse the offerings from Paris Street Boutique before you settle in for the next performance and a sinfully good croissant. All in the beautiful setting of Santa Barbara’s Oak Park.
On Sunday afternoon Santa Barbara’s four-legged friends take center stage with the infamous Poodle Parade! Poodles large, small and Wanna Bee will display their style and panache in one of the Festival’s favorite events. All licensed poodles (even those who just aspire to be a poodle) are welcome to participate. Click here to sign up and become part of this great tradition.
Center Stage Theatre and Speaking of Stories are pleased to be taking over the management of this great event and bringing it back to be better than ever. For the long time French Festival fans, you will be happy to know that founder Steve Hoggerman will still be there acting as Emcee and charming everyone with his collection of so-bad-they-are-good jokes and puns.
Everything you have loved about the Festival will stay the same, and now all of the proceeds will benefit these two great community organizations.
Admission to the festival is free and is a nonsmoking event.
— Teri Ball represents the Santa Barbara French Festival.