Hundreds of songs are written depicting the long, excitement-filled days of summer, but only one festival celebrates the season to the fullest: the Solstice Festival. Three days full of vibrant floats, colorful costumes and artistic celebration, the Solstice Festival combines the best of summer with the culture-conscious community of Santa Barbara.
This year’s Solstice Festival plays to the imagination and dreams that these hotter months conjure up with the theme “Fantasy”. With several artists developing their own interpretations, this year’s theme will provide versatile and innovative floats and features. The artist in residence Pali Ex-Mano uses the ocean as his float’s inspiration, playing off the idea of “Fantasea”, creating a large sea anemone housing many underwater creatures.
Other float interpretations include a dragon made of scales hand drawn by various community members (Stacie Bouffard’s ‘Pass the Hat’ Float), a childhood memory-inspired float (Laura Smith and Citrix), a rocket ship with wings (Geoffrey Barber), and a huge “Birds of a Feather” bird cage (Ann Chevrefils). Executive Festival Director Claudia Bratton will also be fashioning a float—a menagerie of sea creatures, mermaids and men, sea wenches and pirates.
Along with the whimsical theme brewing excitement among locals, another feature of this year’s festival is the parade’s new workshop space. Located at 515 Garden Street, this temporary space acts as a large brainstorming arena, full of tents and the festival’s mask and costume departments.
While “Fantasy” is the soul behind the festival, “nostalgia” also plays an important role in each Summer Solstice Festival. All of the artworks from last year’s parade will be on display for the duration of the festival, allowing visitors who missed last year’s celebration (or who just want to relive the excitement and vivacity that occurred a year ago) to experience the old works anew.
One thing is for certain: this year’s “Fantasy” theme will bring together Santa Barbarans of all ages, looking for a little imagination to brighten their summer spirits.
The 2012 Summer Solstice Festival and Parade will take place from June 22-24. For more information on the Summer Solstice Festival, please click here.
-Taylor Micaela Davis