The Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Parade draws crowds of over 100,000 spectators from around the world. It has evolved into a creative and original display of floats, giant puppets, whimsical costumes and masks of more than 1,000 parade participants. There are dancing, music, drumming and performances to enthrall the spectators.
The festival is now three days over the weekend. Friday is a special evening, showcasing local talents with music, dance, performances. Some of the parade ensembles are featured as well as all of the food booths, arts and crafts vendors. On Saturday, there is a special free children's festival with lots of free activities, a DJ area for dancing and enjoying techno music; a large drum circle keeps the beat going all afternoon. Sunday features jazz on the main stage, with all the food, arts, crafts vendors, and the children's festival. Each year there is an annual artistic competition for the Solstice t-shirt and poster design that is sold as a fundraising vehicle for the event.
The Festival in Alameda Park grew from the earlier gatherings at the sunken gardens of the County Courthouse. When the number of people outgrew the size of the courthouse, the event moved to Alameda Park. The Alameda Park is where everyone can enjoy a wonderful eclectic collection of live world music including famous local groups, food, arts and crafts.