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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 5:17 pm | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Santa Barbara Parade Set to ‘Unwrap the Magic’ of the Holidays

Nearly 70 entries, including balloons, floats and Santa, will stroll down State Street on Friday

Santa Barbara will “Unwrap the Magic” of the holidays as the 57th Annual Downtown Holiday Parade strolls down State Street on Friday to entertain and amaze children and families from near and far.

At 6:30 p.m. Friday, the much-anticipated holiday parade will once again amuse more than 50,000 spectators as giant helium balloons float down State Street amid marching bands, floats and performance groups in elaborate, colorful costumes to charm the audience as they cheer on and await the grand marshal, Smokey Bear, the Holiday Prince & Fairy and, of course, Santa Claus.

This year’s parade features nearly 70 entries and more than 2,800 individuals.

The Holiday Prince and Fairy — Nick Schaedler, 8, and Sydney Lynn Hlavaty, 7 — will light the 45-foot Douglas fir Community Holiday Tree, located just north of the intersection at State and Victoria streets.

In keeping with tradition, the Prince and Fairy will wave their magic wands and the tree will illuminate State Street, signifying the official start of the parade and the holiday season.

Leading the parade with the Prince and Fairy will be Smokey Bear. Santa Barbara is helping Smokey celebrate his 65th birthday this year. Smokey Bear is America’s wildfire prevention icon educating generations of Americans about their role in wildfire prevention.

In keeping with traditions of the past, Santa still reigns over the celebration. He can be seen riding at the end of the parade with the fairy finalists, being pulled down State Street by his “reindeer” in an authentic hand-built sleigh for the grand finale.

The public also can join Santa before the parade as he greets families in Paseo Nuevo’s center court from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The parade is free. It will begin on State Street at Sola Street and conclude at Cota Street.

For more information, click here or call the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization at 805.962.2098 x24.

— Mary Lynn Harms is the marketing director for the Santa Barbara Downtown Organization.

 

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