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Legions Descend on Oak Park as Santa Barbara Celebrates French Festival

27th annual celebration draws thousands in show of force for Le Tricolor, crêpes and parading poodles

Colorful costumes and cultural dances were just part of the attraction of the 27th annual Santa Barbara French Festival over the weekend at Oak Park. Click to view larger
Colorful costumes and cultural dances were just part of the attraction of the 27th annual Santa Barbara French Festival over the weekend at Oak Park. (Fritz Olenberger photo /

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Everybody was a little bit French on Sunday on the final day of the Santa Barbara French Festival.

What’s not to love about crêpes, French wines and other carnival fare?

A long line at the crêpes tent cemented that fact as attendees waited patiently in the hot sun. The lucky few huddled under umbrellas.

The 27th annual two-day event at Oak Park attracted thousands of locals and out-of-towners, many of whom circle the festival dates on their calendars and attend every year.

Taking a selfie with the miniature Eiffel Tower in the park’s center was a must for most festival goers, dressed up in berets and draped in colors of the French flag to remind them of the French heritage they may or may not have.

The festival kicked off Saturday and included gobs of food and the infamous poodle parade of dressed-up dogs. The event was so popular that organizers added a second parade on Sunday evening.

Three stages showcased live entertainment, and more vendors than you could count dotted the walkways selling hats, jewelry, pottery, fresh-baked breads and macaroons.

Others opted to partake in a collaboration between the French Festival and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which included special movie showings at the Riviera Theatre through Sunday.

Organizers said even the threat of rain Saturday couldn’t keep people away.

Instead of seeing a max exodus when the park was briefly blessed with a downpour, attendees found an umbrella and waited for the stormy weather to pass before going back to enjoy the festivities.

“Everybody is so thrilled to see any rain,” organizer Terry Ball said, referring to California’s ongoing drought.

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.

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