Tuesday, August 14 , 2018, 1:35 pm | Partly Cloudy 74º


Santa Barbara French Festival Returning to Oak Park in Celebration of Bastille Day

The Santa Barbara French Festival returns to Oak Park July 18-19 to celebrate Bastille Day and all the things that make the French cultural history so rich.

French Festival
Tasty offerings from Pacific Crepes will be among the delicacies available at the Santa Barbara French Festival on July 18-19. (Shannon Joran photo)

Two days of French delicacies — mimosas, crepes, beignets and decadent pastries — as well as music, dance, crafts and, of course, the infamous Poodles & Pals Parade are planned. It's a community event not to be missed.

There will be dance, music, shopping and food — all in one place! It is also a great way to support Center Stage Theater and Speaking of Stories, two Santa Barbara arts organizations.

For two days, Santa Barbara celebrates its reputation as “the American Riviera,” as the French Festival takes over beautiful Oak Park. The fun starts at 11 a.m. and continues nonstop until 7 p.m. Three stages will be filled with dance and music from more than 30 acts, including performances of the Can-can, French Polynesian dancers, African Bellydancing, Burlesque, Tango and, of course, the Femme Fatales Drag Revue!

Audience members are encouraged to participate and learn, and every minute of entertainment is all free! Entertainers include local favorites like the West Coast Ballet, Crystal Indigo, Montecito Jazz Project and Santa Barbara Silver Follies, along with groups from throughout California. Second Wind, a four-piece ensemble, joins us from Long Beach, playing French music from the 1930s to modern, with a touch of Cajun and Quebecois.

Los Angeles performer Jean-Pierre Tibbi will bring classic French songs and Djangoschmango takes you on a journey to a Paris nightclub of the '30s with their tribute to the great Django Reinhardt. The Accordion International Music Society of Santa Barbara will coordinate the third stage dedicated to exclusively accordion performances. Fabulous accordion tunes fill the air, complete with a dance floor for those that want to take advantage and let the music move them.

In response to popular demand this year we are teaming with French Bulldog Rescue to expand our infamous Poodles and Pals Parade. For years this great tradition has concluded the gestival on Sunday evening. This year we will do the parade will expand to both days. The fun begins each day at 6 p.m. with an accordion accompanied procession through the park as Napoleon & Jellie Beanz lead the four-legged promenade to the stage!

The entertainment is only part of what the French Festival has to offer. More than 60 booths will be offering everything from crepes and delicious French pastries to face painting and French tablecloths. Grab a mimosa as you peruse beautiful paintings and photography. Enjoy a crepe or Le Hot Dog from Pacific Crepes while shopping for your French Festival T-shirt and beret. Take a moment for a quick massage before you settle in for the next performance with a sinfully delicious croissant from Normandie Bakery, beignets or Cajun shrimp and French beer, the choices abound.  Browse through jewelry and fashion, photographs and artwork, and so much more. You can even try your hand at Petanque, a French lawn bowling game.

You can even let the taste of France inspire you to plan an actual journey there! The Santa Barbara Travel Bureau Travel Pavillon will have vendors with great offers on boutique adventures and excursions. Don’t forget to get your raffle ticket for your chance to win a romantic French Polynesian  resort stay.

Center Stage Theatre and Speaking of Stories are pleased to present this great community event, which serves as a joint fundraiser for the two organizations. Sponsors for the event include Santa Barbara Travel, Kronenbourg 1664, Perrier, The Santa Barbara Independent, HiddenProvence.com, Tent Merchants, Marborg, South Pacific Management, Cox Media and French Bulldog Rescue.

For complete details on the performers, food, crafts, shopping and activities visit FrenchFestival.com or "Like" us on Facebook so you get all the new updates. If you would like to volunteer at the festival, please call or email Nathan Quinney at 805.963.8198 or [email protected].

The 27th annual Santa Barbara French Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 18-19. Admission is free, and the festival is a nonsmoking event. For more information, visit FrenchFestival.com, email [email protected] or call 805.963.8198.

— Teri Ball is director of the Santa Barbara French Festival.


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