Santa Barbara’s Summer-Welcoming Bash

The city's solstice parade is among the sunniest of Golden State staples.

Photo by Steve Hospodar/courtesy of Visit Santa Barbara

WHILE THE SUMMER SEASON... has a way of moving into higher gear around the end of May, and Memorial Day, it doesn't officially say hello before June 20, at least in 2017. That's the day of the solstice, and the solstice is an occasion that a certain sunshiny, Central Coast-tastic city has taken quite seriously — merrily, but seriously — since 1974. In fact, you'd be as right as the sun is hot if you were to say that Santa Barbara has one of the biggest and most established summer solstice celebrations around, and, if you were to also say it is one of the most colorful and full of visual kapow, well, you'd be right again. But take note that the three-day party isn't happening right on June 20 this year, but, rather, on the weekend following the summer-arriving holiday, which means you'll need to samba into the American Riviera on...

JUNE 23, 24, AND 25: Alameda Park is the happy hub for a number of raise-the-spirit, feel-the-warmth doings, while the famous parade dances down State Street on Saturday, June 24. Masks, outlandish and elaborate costumes, huge puppets, and airy inflatables are hallmarks of the State Street scene, giving Santa Barbara's parade its own distinctive and delightful look. In fact, you'd be as right as summer is sweet if you were to say that few processions embody the character of a season in the way that the Summer Solstice Parade on State Street embodies the warmest time of year in color, approach, and panache. Is summer your absolute favoritest have-to-honor-it season? Jump into the long-running revelries at a town that's embraced its start with both arms, arms that are likely covered in sequins and feathers and body paint, as is the way with this iconic solstice festivity.

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