Santa rides on a boat in the the 35th annual Parade of Lights at the Santa Barbara Harbor Sunday night.
Santa rides on a boat in the 35th annual Parade of Lights at the Santa Barbara Harbor on Sunday night. (Mike Eliason photo)

Winter 2022 will be the first year that holiday events are back in full swing since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Festivities throughout the county will run until the end of the year. The following is information on parades and other events:

Santa Barbara

The 36th Santa Barbara Boat Parade of Lights sets sail on Sunday, Dec. 11.

Starting at noon, the Santa Barbara Harbor will transform into a “Winter Wonderland” with elves, music, the opportunity to get a photo taken with Santa, and 10 tons of snow. All activities are free to the public. 

The “Human-Powered” portion of the parade competition begins at 3:30 p.m.

At 5 p.m. the tree lighting ceremony will be held on Stearns Wharf next to the Sea Center. 

At 5:30 p.m. some 30 decorated vessels will showcase their interpretation of this year’s parade theme, “Deck the Hulls,” as they sail from Leadbetter Beach down to the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion, then back to the wharf. 

The parade will conclude with a fireworks show. Best viewing locations for the boat parade and fireworks include Stearns Wharf, the breakwater, West Beach and East Beach, according to city officials.

Registration for the competition is open and it’s free to enter.

Participants can enter one of five categories: human-powered, power, sail, commercial fishing, or commercial other. There will be thousands of dollars in prizes. Click here to enter online.

Visit for additional details.

•        •        •

The Santa Barbara Eastside Society is sponsoring the Holiday on Milpas Street Parade Saturday, Dec. 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. This year’s theme is “Surfin’ Santa” and  The cost for entering a float, band, or other display is $60 per entry.

•        •        •

For those in the market for a Christmas tree, Lane farm’s Christmas Patch is open now until Dec. 20 daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The farm will also have farm animals, farm equipment and a corn maze. The farm is at 308 S. Walnut Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93111.

Visitors are not required to wear a mask but to avoid visiting in large groups and maintain social distancing during a visit.

•        •        •

The Paseo Nuevo Mall is hosting several events through Dec. 24. Schedule details are available here. Also at the mall, from now until Dec. 31, will have a “snowfall” from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

•        •        •

The State Street Promenade will take place Thursday, Dec.1, from 3 to 8 p.m. Paseo Nuevo Mall will be hosting a Silent Night Silent Disco from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The disco will be free to join and will also feature refreshments and prizes.

Downtown Santa Barbara will host a Block Party and Christmas Tree Lighting Friday, Dec. 2, from 5 to 8:00 p.m. on the 1500 block of State St.

•        •        •

Reservations for the 23rd Trolley of Lights went on Sale Oct. 1 and are already sold out. The holiday-themed trolley offers rides through Dec. 21.

To view a complete list of winter holiday events, restaurants and shows in Santa Barbara, click here


The Montecito Holiday Magic Nighttime Car Parade takes place on Dec. 17th at 5 p.m. The procession starts in the Upper Village and winds down to Coast Village before returning.


The fifth annual Goleta Holiday Parade will be on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m. in Old Town Goleta. The parade route follows Hollister Avenue from Orange Avenue to Kinman Avenue. 


The Lompoc Children’s Christmas Parade takes place Friday, Dec. 2, at 6 p.m. The parade will begin at the Pine Ave. and H Stree. In the event of rain, the parade date would be pushed to Dec. 9.

•        •        •

Breakfast with Santa will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Dick Dewees Community & Senior Center.

Admission is $8 for children ages 3 to 12, and $12 for children 13 and older.

Visitors must pre-register to attend the breakfast. An application form can be found here


The Carpinteria Holiday Spirit Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 3 p.m. downtown on Linden Avenue, followed by Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Light Up a Life event at the Seal Fountain at 5:30 p.m.

Santa Ynez Valley

Solvang’s Julefest is a month-long holiday celebration, with events running now until Jan. 6. Events include walking tours, markets, performances and a parade. 

•        •        •

Solvang’s  Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place Friday, Dec. 2, from 5 to 6 p.m. at Solvang Park, 1630 Mission Drive. The event will be held “rain or shine.”

•        •        •

Solvang’s 73rd Julefest Parade takes place Saturday, Dec. 3, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and starts on the west side of Mission Drive, “rain or shine.” This year’s theme is “Hyggelig” A Cozy Christmas.

The parade will include floats, cars, horses and dancers, and there will be an award ceremony for participants at 1 p.m. Participation is free to join; applicants can fill out an application to enter here.

•        •        •

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will host a drive-thru nativity scene that is free to the public. The drive-thru is Saturday Dec. 3 from 6 to 7 p.m. at 2627 Janin Way.

•        •        •

Los Olivos will hold its Olde Fashion Christmas on Dec. 3 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Rain or shine.

Starting at 2 p.m., Figueroa Mountain Brewery will host a holiday market with a kids cookie station and free photos with Santa.

Live music performances and a holiday market will take place at 4 p.m., and the official lighting of the Christmas tree flagpole takes place at 6 p.m. 

To find the location of the flagpole, visit the town’s interactive map.

•        •        •

Buellton’s Winterfest takes place Sunday, Dec. 4, starting at 9 a.m.

Breakfast With Santa in the Buellton Rec Center runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The holiday parade starts at noon at Jonata Middle School. 

At 4 p.m. the Holiday Village at Village Park will open behind Tractor Supply, and will feature vendors, live music and 20 tons of snow. The night will end with a tree lighting ceremony at 7 p.m.



Guadalupe’s Christmas Parade, hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Guadelupe, takes place Saturday, Dec. 10, at 6 p.m. on Guadalupe Street.

The parade is free to participate in. Those who are interested in being in the parade can email

Santa Maria & Orcutt

Santa Maria’s Parade of Lights takes place Saturday, Dec, 3, at 5:20 p.m. It runs on Broadway, from Enos Drive to Main Street. Broadway will be closed to traffic along the parade route at 4 p.m.

Floats in the parade will be entered in a competition to win up to $4,500.

In case of rain, the parade may be canceled day-of at 10 a.m. and parade organizers will let attendees know via a KCOY-TV announcement and via email, according to the parade website. 

•        •        •

The Santa Maria Elks Club will hold its “Christmas in the Country” drive-thru from Friday, Dec. 9, to Saturday, Dec. 24, at the Santa Maria Elks Event Center, 4040 S. Highway 101.

Tickets are $55 per vehicle or  $70 per person for the VIP Christmas Experience, and can be purchased at the Santa Maria Elks Recreation website.

•        •        •

The Orcutt Christmas Parade takes place on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 12 p.m., “rain or shine.”

The parade is an Orcutt tradition dating back to 1961. Businesses that wish to enter into the parade must register here and pay the $30 entrance fee.

Noozhawk staff writer Grace Kitayama can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.