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Downtown Santa Barbara Prepares for 63rd Annual Holiday Parade, Selects Prince and Fairy

Mikayla Bohn, age 9, was selected as the Holiday Fairy for her artwork embodying the theme, “World A ‘Glow.” Click to view larger
Mikayla Bohn, age 9, was selected as the Holiday Fairy for her artwork embodying the theme, “World A ‘Glow.” (Downtown Santa Barbara photo)

Staff and volunteers are putting the final touches on everything in order to be ready for the 63rd Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, stepping off at Sola & State streets at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, 2015.

First up was the delivery and decoration of the Downtown Community Christmas Tree City staff and the crew of the Parade’s Presenting Sponsor (Consumer Fire Products, Inc.) joined forces Tuesday, Nov. 24, to install the 45-foot in its traditional State Street location, between Sola and Victoria streets.

Donated by Southern California Edison as part of their annual reforestation efforts, the tree was decorated and prepped for its big debut. The Holiday Parade Prince and Fairy will light the huge tree at the beginning of the Holiday Parade, and it will shine brightly throughout the holiday season.

The call went out early to young artists from 6-10 years old to participate in the very competitive process of becoming the Parade Prince and Holiday Fairy. To be selected, children had submit their finest parade theme-inspired artwork.

As the entries roll in, the judges are summoned and began the process of choosing the drawings that best exemplified “World A’Glow.”

After extensive judging, the clear winners were revealed: Christian Johnson (age 10) and Mikayla Bohn (age 9). The young royals will ride the Coldwell Banker Foundation bright red Shelby GT500 convertible, armed with the magic wand to light the tree.

Following directly behind the Prince and Fairy (and presumably offering tree-lighting advice) will be the 2016 Holiday Parade Grand Marshal: R2-D2, an American cultural and film icon from Star Wars fame, who is included in “The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects” and has been inducted in the Robot Hall of Fame.

His appearance marks the first time a droid from a galaxy far, far away has served as a parade Grand Marshal. Members of the world champion Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy team, armed with light sabers, have been recruited to serve as Storm Trooper guards for R2-D2’s float.

Winning artwork by Parade Prince Christian Johnson, age 10. Click to view larger
Winning artwork by Parade Prince Christian Johnson, age 10. (Downtown Santa Barbara photo)

The Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade by the Numbers: 88 entries; 3,182 participants; 6 tubas; 52 vehicles; 85 volunteers; 11 marching bands; 2 professional floats; 5 large balloons; 2 MTD electric shuttles; 5 judges; 50 shooting stars lining State Street; 9 elected officials and the 1 and only Santa Claus.

In keeping with tradition, Santa still reigns over the entire celebration, making his appearance on a huge float for an unforgettable grand finale! The public can also join Santa prior to the parade while he greets families in Paseo Nuevo Center Court for photos from 4-5:30 p.m. Dec. 4.

Downtown Santa Barbara thanks its Presenting Sponsor, Consumer Fire Products, Inc.; Float Sponsors: Montecito Bank & Trust, The Towbes Group and MarBorg Industries; Grand Marshal Sponsor: Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants; Balloon Sponsors: The Bank of Santa Barbara, Canary Hotel, Metropolitan Theatres, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Sonos, Inc.

Additional sponsors include Hotel Santa Barbara, Southern California Edison and Union Bank; Media Sponsors including CASA Magazine, Noozhawk and Santa Barbara Independent.

The Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade is a production of the Downtown Organization of Santa Barbara as a gift to the community. For more information, please visit

Kate Schwab is the marketing and communications director for Downtown Santa Barbara.

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