The festive Fourth of July parade that worked its way through the heart of downtown Santa Barbara on Saturday entertained thousands of spectators.
The procession had a little bit of everything, including those in colonial garb firing antique muskets to a Santa Barbara city council member twirling a baton with flourish as she walked the route.
Many packed in to line State Street from Micheltorena to Cota streets on Saturday afternoon, waving flags and cheering for the 53rd annual parade, sponsored by the Spirit of ’76 Foundation. The nonprofit organization works to promote the values extolled by America’s founding fathers.
“This day is about everyone coming together,” said Crystal Carlston, who was standing at State Street and Canon Perdido, emceeing the event.
Leading up to the parade’s start, Carlston posed trivia questions to those nearby, from the historical — how many signers were on the Declaration of Independence (56) — to the silly — how many hot dogs Americans will eat on the Fourth of July (an estimated 150 million).
Spirit of ’76 Foundation president Paul Lamberton said the holiday symbolizes when a revolution of ideas took place.
“Through the leadership of our founding fathers, the 13 original colonies became one nation through a system of laws based on a Bill of Rights,” he said, adding that “no other nation on this planet empowers its citizens the enjoyment of clearly defined inalienable rights.”
The parade brought dignitaries; car clubs like the Santa Barbara Model A Club; re-enactment groups like the Santa Barbara Colonials and Morgen’s Riflemen; and many other civic and community organization to downtown Santa Barbara to celebrate the holiday.
On Saturday night, the skies above the Santa Barbara waterfront and Girsh Park in Goleta erupted in multicolor explosions, to the delight of tens of thousands of spectators amassed for the annual fireworks shows.