Santa Barbara Wonders: Summer Solstice Celebration

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Rows of dancers dressed in dazzling purple clothing dance choreographically in front of one of the main floats in the parade. (Image by Ronald Williams)

Over 100,000 people gathered on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara to witness the wonder that is the Summer Solstice Parade. 1,000 parade participants parade down the streets dressed in extravagant clothing, dancing around 30 lavishly decorated floats. Besides just the parade, there is also a full-scale music festival taking place in Alameda Park only a measly 10 minute walk away showcasing 3 days full of local groups and artists such as Rockshop Academy, Jenna Tico, and The Brambles

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Hundreds of people gather in front of a stage to enjoy hours of live music. (Image by A. Arthur Fisher)

The Summer Solstice Parade is a 42-year-old tradition that takes place every summer. The first parade took place in 1974 and was a birthday celebration for a local mine named Michael Gonzales. What is now a parade with 1,000 participants started off as just seven creative people marching down State Street to celebrate their friend’s birthday. Even though that’s the reason the parade started, the event is no longer happening for the memory of Michael Gonzales. Over the years, the celebration has become an event to celebrate the longest summer day and it attracts over 100,000 people and dons a new themed parade every summer

The Summer Solstice Celebration has never failed to attract a large audience and it will continue doing so with more parades and days filled with endless food and music.