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Friday, February 15 , 2019, 10:48 pm | Fair 48º


Out of This World Summer Solstice Celebration to Descend on Santa Barbara

Residents put their finishing touches on their parade floats and costumes under this year's 'Sci Fi' theme

Locals prepare for the Summer Solstice Celebration under the “Sci-Fi” theme at the Community Arts Workshop space in downtown Santa Barbara on Wednesday.
Locals prepare for the Summer Solstice Celebration under the “Sci-Fi” theme at the Community Arts Workshop space in downtown Santa Barbara on Wednesday. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Creative procrastinators huddled around paints, feathers and distinctive hats Wednesday, putting finishing touches on wardrobe and float choices for the 2015 Summer Solstice Celebration held this weekend in Santa Barbara.

After all, they will be on display in front of more than 100,000 spectators who flock to the annual three-day event.

To celebrate the beginning of summer — and the longest day of the year — dozens of locals descended on the Community Arts Workshop in downtown Santa Barbara on Wednesday to finish up people-powered floats and colorful garb for Saturday’s parade. 

Volunteers serve as mentors for newbie designers or counsel for more seasoned community members making masks, costumes and more to fit the “Sci-Fi” theme, with supplies provided by the Solstice celebration.

“It’s like a tribe,” said Lisa Thomas, who has created floats on and off for 25 years.

This year she’s working with local artist Carlos Cuellar, embracing a Mayan and Dia De Los Muertos theme.

“There’s more connection than just the parade,” she said.

Locals prepare floats and costumes for the Summer Solstice Parade at the Community Arts Workshop space in downtown Santa Barbara. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

The annual parade will start rolling at noon Saturday at State and Cota streets, following a route up State Street to Micheltorena Street.

No motorized vehicles or commercial elements are allowed in the procession, per tradition.

The 41st annual Summer Solstice Celebration officially kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday with live music entertainment at Alameda Park until 9 p.m.

Billed as the largest, three-day arts event in Santa Barbara County, the Saturday festival kicks off at noon with a drum circle open to all and entertainment on the park’s main stage until 8 p.m.

Festivities continue Sunday from noon until the event’s conclusion at 6 p.m.

Organizers have hosted the community arts workshop at 631 Garden St. since May 9 and will finish up Friday. Those interested in participating can show up between 3 and 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Volunteer Grace Bartha works to paper mache a large skeletal alien for the Summer Solstice Celebration. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

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