The 500 block of Garden Street is home to the Summer Solstice Workshop, where local carpenters, seamstresses, artists and volunteers are frantically making final preparations for this weekend’s 38th annual Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Parade and Celebration.
For some, it’s a place where individual hobbies, such as collecting used CDs or refitting old bicycles, take on a more creative purpose. For others, it’s a welcoming work environment, where everyone from City Council members to the homeless can participate.
For Carrie Prelas, a veteran of the Solstice Parade, it’s a tradition that spans generations, and brings both families and communities together, including her daughters, Danielle and Diane Clark.
“Kids nowadays sit in front of computers,” Prelas said Thursday. “My daughters were in the parade. Now my granddaughter gets to paint, build and create a float that she’ll ride on with her friends.”
Prelas gestured to a set of swings that dangle from twin palm trees, a creation that her granddaughter, Brianna West, and friend Ruby Flores, will hang from, dressed as monkeys.
“Well, it’s good exercise!” Diane Clark said of the hours-long process of pushing the floats up State Street. She pointed to her sister Danielle, and said, “I’ll bet you a hundred bucks she’ll show up wearing stilettos.”
Despite the hours of time and energy involved, Clark agrees that it’s a valuable way to build community and foster creativity, whether through the help of family, volunteers or paid workers.
This year, the fantasy-themed festivities, spanning three days, will begin at 4 p.m. Friday at Alameda Park, with theatrical entertainment until 9 p.m.
On Saturday, the Solstice parade will begin at noon at State and Cota streets, and end at Alameda Park, where the free celebration will resume until 8 p.m.
On Sunday, entertainment will be featured on both the main and children’s stages from 1:30 to 6 p.m.
The beloved Solstice Children’s Festival will be open both Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., with arts and crafts, booths, musical entertainment and other activities for family and children.
Throughout the three-day celebration, arts and crafts booths, food booths, and a beer and wine garden will be open for everyone’s enjoyment.