Santa Barbara’s horizon changed somewhat dramatically Friday morning as the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) dropped anchor around 9 a.m. when it arrived for the Santa Barbara Navy League‘s Welcome Weekend festivities.

The aircraft carrier, towering 20 stories above the waterline, is anchored about a mile off Santa Barbara Harbor because the ship is too large to get much closer. It was visible by 8 a.m. and by noon, most of the crew of 4,000 arrived onshore.

“This trip by the USS Ronald Reagan to Santa Barbara is very important to us,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jose Martinez, a Reagan spokesman. “We are coming home. We are bringing our ship home.”

This will be the Reagan’s second visit to Santa Barbara. It coincides with the 100th anniversary of the arrival in Santa Barbara of President Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet.


The Navy has limited the number of visits aboard the aircraft carrier because of security constraints. All available tours have been filled.

If swell conditions exceed four feet, no one will be allowed to embark at Stearns Wharf because of safety concerns.

Crew Community Service:

The men and women of the USS Ronald Reagan will perform community service throughout the area. Nearly 80 sailors will be partnering with the Santa Barbara Police Department, the Parks & Recreation Department, Public Works, Caltrans and the Neighborhood Improvement Task Force on a variety of cleanup efforts Saturday. Volunteers will participate in neighborhood cleanups, paint Skater’s Point, refresh picnic tables at Leadbetter Beach Park, and help re-landscape sections of Shoreline Park.

Officers and crewmembers will be passing out USS Ronald Reagan caps to young patients at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital from 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday.

On the Net:

The Santa Barbara Navy League and Santa Barbara City College’s School of Media Arts have teamed up to welcome the Reagan crew with a series of YouTube video vignettes about Santa Barbara and crew activities. To view the videos, click here and enter SOMASBCC in the search field.

Local Support:

The Navy League said it has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of local support for the crew. Hundreds of applications have come in for the Adopt-the-Sailor program and as a number of families will be welcoming crewmembers into their homes.  Local restaurants, museums and hotels have offered discounted rates.

On Saturday, the UCSB Athletics Department will welcome the crew to the Thunderdome for the Gauchos’ women’s basketball game against Cal State Fullerton.


In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet made a historic visit to Santa Barbara.  This weekend’s Reagan visit coincides with that 100-year anniversary.

The first bear to be named after a president since President Theodore Roosevelt’ “teddy” bear, was created and named after President Ronald Reagan by the Santa Barbara Navy League and Ty Warner. Profits of more than $500,000 from the sales of “Ronnie Bear” were donated and have provided many enhancements on the USS Ronald Reagan. Donations for Ronnie Bears are still helping to fund the support activities of the Santa Barbara Navy League.

Welcome Weekend Events:

Barbecue Dinner and Dance at the Carriage and Western Arts Museum
7-10:30 p.m. Friday
Features barbecue provided by the Santa Maria Elk’s Lodge and live music by Sean Wiggins and the Lone Goat Band.  Cost: $125 for Navy League members/$150 general admission

Sports Weekend — Games involving USS Ronald Reagan crew and local teams
On Saturday, baseball and softball games will be held at Pershing Park, and basketball and softball at games at SBCC. On Sunday, SBCC will host soccer matches. The games include music, flags and hotdogs. Free for family, friend, officers and crewmembers.

Concert in Chase Palm Park, featuring Red Fish with Navy flyover
Noon-3 p.m. Saturday
Free for family, friends, officers and crewmembers.

Rock the Reagan Concert, featuring Blues Traveler at the Arlington Theatre
7-10:30 p.m. Saturday
For officers, crewmembers, Navy League members.  Waitlist “block” tickets sales open to the public. Cost: $250 for 10 tickets.

POW Capt. Charlie Plumb speaks at Bacara Resort & Spa
7-9 p.m. Saturday
For officers, crewmembers and Navy League members.

Rancho San Marcos Golf Tournament
8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
Includes breakfast and lunch, range balls, on-course drinks and tee prizes. Each foursome will include one crewmember. Proceeds benefit Santa Barbara Navy League.
Open to the public. Cost: $275.

Crew Discounts:

4-Wheel Bike Rentals
Arlington Theatre
Bacara Resort & Spa
Barcliff & Bair
Beachbreak Café
Best Western Carpinteria Inn
Best Western Peppertree Inn
Big Dog
Bougainvillea Restaurant
Brander Winery
Bucatini Trattoria
California Pizza Kitchen
Casa del la Guerra and El Presidio
Chase Bar & Grill
Chaucer’s Books
Chuck’s Waterfront Grill & Endless Summer
Cold Stone Creamery Ice Cream
Firestone Brewery
Fish Enterprise
Fish House
Franciscan Inn
Gainey Winery
Hampton Inn
Hotel Andalucía
Hotel Mar Monte
Hotel Oceana
Joe’s Café
Kalyra Winery
Left at Albuquerque
Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant
Madison’s Grill & Tavern
The Peace Store
Pierre Lafond Bistro
Rideaux Winery
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Ruby’s Diner
Rudy’s Café
Sandbar Cantina Grill
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Santa Barbara Shellfish Co Restaurant
Santa Barbara Yacht Club
Shoreline Beach Café
Something’s Fishy
State & A Bar & Grill
Sunstone Winery
Wheel Fun Rentals
Whiskey Richards Bar & Pool
Zia Café