Each year at the end of June, Santa Barbara, California, officially kicks off summer with a three-day Solstice Celebration. The highlight of the event is a downtown parade known for its whimsical floats, colorfully-costumed stiltwalkers, goofy performance artists, Brazilian drummers, and giggling kids donning masks, costumes, and painted faces—to say nothing of the amazing samba dancers wearing feathers and sequins and not much else. The annual event got its start in 1974 and now attracts about 100,000 spectators and some 1,000 participants from near and far. Here are some of my photos from this year’s festivities.
Donning a colorful solstice-themed head-piece, Mr. Sunshine led the way up State Street.
Hilary Kleger was one of many beautiful dancers in the Hip Brazil dance troupe. Their elaborate headpieces and sexy sequined outfits conjured up images of the Rio Carneval.
Panzumo, a high-energy drum and dance ensemble led by Lisa Beck (center), are longtime favorites at the Solstice Parade.
Unicyclist Robert Bernstein has been a part of the Solstice Parade since 1985.
Taking inspiration from the 2013 theme “Creatures,” Emiliano Campobello played the part of a character from Avatar.
All you need to participate, as twins Arran and Ethan will tell you, is some face-paint and neon hair dye.
Hip Brazil dancer Naomi Broomberg.
Hip Brazil dancer Missy Butler.
Dancers dressed as winged mermaids? Why not, it’s a solstice party!
Hungarian-born artist Pali-X-Mano is known for his eye-popping inflatable sculptures. This year’s creation was a giant 30-foot “solar creature” with aerial dancers inside. The float barely fit under the tree canopy of State Street.
Hoopers Lindsey Mickelson and Veronika Petra.
Some of my images from the 2012 Solstice Celebration were featured on CNN last week. Check out Seven Strange and Wonderful Ways You Celebrate the Summer Solstice
For more of my photos from the Solstice festivities, go to:
- The complete set of photos from Solstice 2013
- Photos from the 2012 Solstice Parade
- Photos from the 2011 Solstice Parade
- Photos from the 2010 Solstice Parade
- Photos from the 2009 Solstice Parade