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Solstice Celebration T-shirts to Be Available at Earth Day Festival

Artwork by Michael Matheson reflects the 2011 'Jungle' theme

T-shirts for the upcoming Summer Solstice Celebration will be available for the first time at the Earth Day Festival this weekend in the Solstice Booth, No. 219, in Alameda Park.

The T-shirt features the artwork of Michael Matheson, reflecting the 2011 Solstice theme of “Jungle.”

This year, the Summer Solstice Festival in Alameda Park will be expanded to three days, June 24-26.

“We like to think the Solstice festival and parade brings creativity and abundance to the community,” Executive Director Claudia Bratton said. “Our event has a very positive fiscal impact on the community, bringing thousands of visitors to hotels, restaurants and businesses.”

Bratton said Solstice purchases thousands of dollars worth of materials, uses South Coast businesses for insurance, printing and other products and services.

“Our festival also provides opportunities for caterers, restaurants, artisans, crafts people and nonprofits to make money from the huge crowds that our event draws to Santa Barbara,” she said.

The 37th annual Summer Solstice Festival will open at 4 p.m. Friday, June 24 in Alameda Park, with an afternoon and evening of theatrical and musical entertainment until 9 p.m. The Solstice Parade will begin at noon Saturday at State and Cota streets in downtown Santa Barbara. The parade ends in Alameda Park, which continues, with entertainment until 8 p.m. The festival will continue Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

The Solstice Children’s Festival will be from noon to 6 p.m. June 25-26 with a variety of family and children’s activities, free art projects, booths, musical entertainment. The Children’s Festival began nine years ago, and this year, for the first time, a children’s poster will be available in honor of this festival.

On June 26, live entertainment will be featured from 1:30 to 6 p.m. on the main stage with soft jazz music as well as entertainment on the children’s stage. Arts, crafts and food booths, and the beer and wine garden will be open throughout the festival.

The Summer Solstice Celebration began in 1974 and grew into Santa Barbara’s largest arts event, more than 100,000 spectators from around the world, with some 1,000 parade participants. As a nonprofit community organization, Summer Solstice Celebration has become a year-round operation, bringing the community together through the arts.

The core of the Solstice celebration begins with a community arts workshop opening May 15 through the end of June. Solstice provides a paid and professional artistic staff, “artists-in-residence,” who teach and assist community members as they create floats, masks, costumes, giant puppets and banners for the parade.

Solstice Celebration funding comes from a variety of fundraising events, business sponsorships, personal contributions, grants, some funding from the City of Santa Barbara, and proceeds from the sale of T-shirts and posters. Buying a T-shirt or a poster helps to support event. For more information, click here or call 805.965.3396.

— Claudia Bratton is executive director of the Summer Solstice Celebration.

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