Each year at the end of June, Santa Barbara, California, officially kicks off summer with a three-day solstice party. The highlight of the weekend is a parade famous for its whimsical floats, colorful stiltwalkers, goofy performance artists, Brazilian drummers, and giggling kids donning masks, costumes, and painted faces, and of course the amazing samba dancers wearing feathers and sequins (and not much else). The annual event got its start in 1974 and now attracts upward of 100,000 visitors and more than 1,000 participants from near and far.
The 2016 theme, “Legends,” evoked lots of characters from American folklore and Greek Mythology, from Paul Bunyan and Tarzan to Medusa and Aphrodite. There were a couple of floats commemorating the late artist Prince—a legend of a different sort. Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, donning an inspired airplane costume, came as Amelia Earhart. Inevitably, a pair of Elvis Presley and Donald Trump impersonators made an appearance. And because the Solstice festivities coincided with Pride weekend in cities like San Francisco and New York this year, there were more than a few same-sex couples waving bright rainbow flags.
Below are a few of my photos. You can check out the complete set here.
For the complete set, go to: Santa Barbara Solstice 2016
See also photos from previous years: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010