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Artists to Make a Splash at Summer Solstice Parade

Volunteer creators put the finishing touches on their floats for Saturday's parade

Santa Barbara Summer Solstice volunteers gathered Friday at the Summer Solstice Workshop to put the final touches on their nearly two-month-long projects for Saturday’s festival. This year’s theme is “Splash.”

Water-related designs varied from an open treasure chest to a magic carpet featuring a genie. Although this year’s workshop started a little later than usual, Executive Director Claudia Bratton was impressed by the floats.

Summer Solstice is an annual Santa Barbara summer parade near the longest day of the year. The parade features a variety of floats designed and built by hundreds of community volunteers. The parade attracts more than 100,000 spectators from around the globe.

Among the more interesting designs, according to Bratton, is “Pirates Pleasure,” a float with a red octopus coming out of an open treasure chest. “It will be a lot of fun to see how people react to it,” designer Ann Chevrefils said. “Pirates Pleasure” also will feature a variety of pirate- and mermaid-themed music.

“Octopus Garden” is a sea castle with pirates and mermaids. A live singer will entertain the crowd, and dancers will blow bubbles to the crowd.

“I was surprised how much help I got (with the float),” artist Isabella Kelly-Ramirez said. “I got (the chance) to put a lot of detail in it.”

Citrix Online will sponsor a kelp forest float designed by 6-year-old Sophia Smith. More than 100 people worked on the float, and 64 adults and children are set to walk along — the adults dressed as kelp, and the children dressed as mermaids, pirates, claw fish, viper fish and other sea creatures.

Len Ramirez, an 82-year-old float enthusiast, has been working on two floats. One is a magic carpet with a genie on top and two Sinbads pushing it. The other is a space space capsule with Ramirez sitting on top with a life vest and a fishing pole. When asked about his age and his continued desire to work with the community, Ramirez said, “Age doesn’t stop you if you’re active.”

The parade starts at Cota and State streets at noon Saturday. It will veer right at Micheltorena Street, then reach a halt at Alameda Park, where a festival will commence to continue the celebration. There, the floats will be displayed, with food and beverages provided by local restaurants and activities that include music, mimes and a children’s area.

Those seeking a sneak peak at the floats before the parade most likely will find volunteers making last-minute touch-ups at the intersection of Garden and Ortega. “People will probably be here at midnight,” Chevrefils said.

Noozhawk intern Kenny Lindberg can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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