Showing the winning artwork is Bianca Paterson, 8, the Holiday Parade fairy; her brother Kai Paterson, 10, is the parade prince.

Showing the winning artwork is Bianca Paterson, 8, the Holiday Parade fairy; her brother Kai Paterson, 10, is the parade prince. (Courtesy photo)

With less than a week before the 66th Annual Downtown Santa Barbara (DSB) Holiday Parade Presented by Consumer Fire Products Inc. (CFPI), Downtown Santa Barbara staff is making lists and checking them twice.

“Parade prep tasks are down to the last very important details, but we will be 100 percent ready for Friday’s 6:30 p.m. step off,” said Lisa McCorkle, parade producer.

What does it take to pull off an 84-entry, nighttime parade?

“Bands, big balloons, banners, volunteers, lights, more lights, and lots and lots of kids,” said DSB events manager April Lee.

Two children, the Holiday Parade Prince and Fairy, have one of the biggest jobs of all — lighting the 42-foot Community Christmas Tree, donated by CFPI. Thirty judges chose these winners from more than 100 entries that best captured the parade theme, Santa Barbara Shines.

This year’s winners are the first brother-sister team in recent memory, Kai Paterson, 10, and Bianca Paterson, 8.

The Prince and Fairy, sponsored by Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants and outfitted in holiday finery by Nordstrom, will kick off the parade in a white 1969 Mustang convertible driven by Mark McClenathen, magic tree-lighting wand at the ready.

Also ready for their Holiday Parade debut: six K9 teams from Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue (SBCSAR). Sponsored by Lemos Feed & Pet Supply, these grand marshal teams will ride in the Santa Barbara Hot Rod Limo and a Search & Rescue vehicle.

“Honoring these amazing first responders has frankly been the highlight of our year,” said Kate Schwab, DSB marketing and communications director.

The star of the show will be Santa Claus, who will appear at the end of the parade perched on a float created by Summer Solstice, powered by patrons of Mad Fitness SB.

Asked about the weather forecast for parade night, KEYT chief meteorologist Alan Rose said, “We’re good by Friday; whatever is left will be gone after Thursday. Weather will be dry, but cold, so bundle up and enjoy the parade.”
Parade sponsors include: American Riviera Bank, Hotel Californian, Kimpton Canary Hotel, Lemos Feed & Pet Supply, LogMeIn, Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant & Take Out, Marborg Industries, Montecito Bank & Trust, Noozhawk, Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurants.

Santa Barbara Beautiful, Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, The Eagle Inn, The Towbes Group, Union Bank, VOICE magazine and Zoom Video Communications.

The parade proceeds down State Street, starting at Sola Street and continuing to Cota Street. For more information about volunteering for the Holiday Parade, contact McCorkle,  

— Kate Schwab for Downtown Santa Barbara.