A 25-person staff worked along with about 30 volunteers Wednesday evening, forming a diverse collection of Santa Barbara residents.
“There are people from all walks of life and all economic backgrounds, from the homeless to the heiress,” Summer Solstice Celebration Executive Director Claudia Bratton said.
Bratton said many of the artists, woodworkers, mask makers and costume designers are paid, but the workshop welcomes all people to volunteer and help make the parade the event Santa Barbara has become so fond of.
First-year volunteer Guy Bryant started contributing by collecting materials for the people making floats, but became inspired to build one of his own.
“I saw a construction site and they just gave me all these materials,” he said. “I was like, Hey! I can do a whole float out of recycled material!’ Nobody’s done a completely recycled float before.”
Like Bryant, float artist Barry Remis said the green aspect of the parade is one of the most amazing aspects of the event considering every float is human powered and very little new material is used.
“It’s really organic because all of it gets reused,” Remis said. “Some of theses things have been in five or six Solstice Parades.”
Remis said he’s been working on his Frankenstein’s workshop-themed float since mid-May when the donated Garden Street lot was opened to the Solstice workers.
Bratton said she began her involvement with the parade more than 30 years ago, designing the Solstice’s first T-shirt in 1982 and enjoys seeing people participating in a constructive activity that benefits the community while learning new skills.
“I believe everyone has a big seed of creativity, but for many people that stops growing,” Bratton said. “We try to ignite the creative spirit of the community.”
Saturday’s parade will start at noon at State and Cota streets. Click here for more information. Click here for the festival schedule.