Bonjour! Tu ne parle pas français? Don’t worry, you’re in luck. The Santa Barbara French Festival takes place the weekend of July 14-15 at Oak Park to commemorate Bastille Day. Founded in 1988 by Santa Barbara resident, Steve Hogerman, the festival has attracted dedicated francophiles and intrigued audiences alike throughout the years.
Since its founding, the French Festival has featured delicious food, performances, and activities for all ages, and this year will be no different. Three stages will accommodate performers throughout the day: Moulin Stage-dance and large group performances, Eiffel Stage-musical performances, and Accordion Stage-performances by the Accordion International Society of Santa Barbara. With more than 30 different acts, there is sure to be fun for the whole family. Attendees can participate in Tango and the Can-Can, listen to French Arias, or enjoy performances by West African Belly dancers, the Reinhardt tributes, and the Femme Fatales Drag Revue.
Plenty of food and refreshments will be available, including, wine, mimosas, crepes, pastries, beer, and soda. More than 60 booths will feature art, photography, fairy wings, fashion, jewelry, and of course, the French Festival booth complete with commemorative t-shirts and berets. For something more thrilling, audiences can engage their friends or the King’s Court in Pétangue, a form of period armored combat. The festival will also feature a French conversation booth for both seasoned and beginning French speakers to test out their language skills. Kids can participate in a droid scavenger hunt, face painting, or even meet Jellie Beanz, the Grand Marshalette of the Canine Calvacade.
Speaking of the Canine Calvacade…this is surely one of the most anticipated events of the weekend. Taking place at 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, attendees can join in the parade with their four-legged companions. The Canine Calvacade begins at the base of the Eiffel Tower and finishes with a grand flourish at the Eiffel Stage where each canine participant can bask in their moment of spotlight. There will also be a costume contest complete with prizes!
All proceeds from the festival will go towards the nonprofits, Center Stage Theater and Speaking of Stories, who are sponsoring the event. For more information, visit the French Festival website here. Oak Park is located at 300 W. Alamar Ave. in Santa Barbara.