Can-Can Confab: Santa Barbara French Fest

Dance, wine, and dressy poodles bring the "ooh la la" to the American Riviera.

IF YOU "OOH LA LA"... with effervescent ease, and you break out "au revoir" instead of goodbye, and you can spread a hunk of Brie on a piece of baguette in one fluid movement, then clearly you should be spending the day in the French countryside, eating and strolling and daydreaming. If such a lovely plan is not currently in the works for you, but you still want to get your "ooh la la" on, and maybe eat something baguette-like, and perhaps even wear a beret or something that's Left Bank chic, you can sashay your way to the American Riviera over the middle weekend in July. That's when the Santa Barbara French Festival unfolds, a two-dayer of a delight that is très, très venerable (well, if you count starting the 1980s as venerable, which we so do, with respect). The sweet, coo-ready centerpiece of the grand soiree is the Sunday Poodles & Pals Parade, but you can arrive earlier in the weekend for a caboodle of to-dos, to-dos brimming with Paris-panache by way of...

OAK PARK: That's where l'action is happening, and by "l'action" we mean crepe enjoyment, wine sipping, French books for sale, artworks on display, and a travel pavilion sure to stoke those "I've got to get to the Continent" dreams. Cajun music, African drumming, a drag revue, and about 30 more performing groups will be on the stage, summoning joy, music, and the spirit of summertime. As it is summertime, perhaps a beret would be too warm a fashion choice, but a jaunty scarf tied at the neck would be right on. Ready to call upon some café close to the Seine, but via Santa Barbara? Ooh la la, your information is here.

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