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Local News

Santa Barbara’s 26th Annual French Festival a Multinational Affair

Bastille Day festivities continue Sunday at Oak Park, featuring food, music and family fun for everyone

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Center Stage Theater and Speaking of Stories: From the Page to the Stage hosted the 26th annual Santa Barbara French Festival on Saturday at Oak Park. The festival compliments Bastille Day, or French National Day, which commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution on July 14.

As you might expect, the festival featured many things French. Attendees lined up to enjoy French cuisine, including everyone’s favorite sweet and savory crepes, which were available at several locations throughout the park.

The festival also featured Cajun delicacies, typically found in formerly French areas of the United States like Louisiana. Santa Maria-based Southern Delite Caterers boasted gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish, boudin sausage and Louisiana meat pie.

Although not in accordance with the French theme, the festival also featured food typically found at county fairs: funnel cakes, Italian sausages and hot dogs (or “le hot dogs,” an American hot dog placed on a French baguette).

In addition to delicious food, the festival also featured nearly 100 different vendors. Jewelry, art, crafts and fashion designs were the most popular items. Crafts ranged from decorative flip-flops to wind chimes fashioned from liquor and soda bottles.

Art ranged from paintings to photographs, and many of the artists were eager to talk about their work with potential customers. Jewelers were similarly excited to discuss their pieces.

Attendees enjoyed live music from a variety of groups. Second Wind, a four-piece ensemble that included a vintage accordion, dabbled in both French and American classics, ranging from the 1930s to today. Shortly after, the Montecito Jazz Project took the stage, playing both French and American jazz standards.

Similarly, the Moulin Rouge stage featured performances from local performing arts groups, including West Coast Ballet, Tango Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara School of Performing Arts.

The festival also featured a raffle with several elaborate prizes that will not be distributed until Monday after everyone has had a chance to enter the drawing. The grand prize is a French Polynesian resort vacation: two nights at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort & Spa, and one night at the Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa. The second prize is one round-trip ticket to Paris on XL Airways France, departing from San Francisco. The third prize is six tickets to The Wave Film Festival – France presented by the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Families and people of all ages enjoyed the event, and all proceeds from the festival benefit Center Stage Theater and Speaking of Stories: From the Page to the Stage.

The French Festival continues at 11 a.m. Sunday, and will feature all the same vendors. Click here for more information.

Noozhawk contributing writer Allyson Werner can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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