Wednesday, October 29, 2014


{I'm posting every day this month for the 31 Days writing challenge!
Click here to see an introduction and a list of all the posts I've written so far.}

Santa Barbara (perhaps like a lot of other cities) has a LOT of different festivals and events throughout the year.  There’s Fiesta, Summer Solstice, the Lemon Festival, the International Film Festival, the French Festival, the i Madonnari chalk art festival, and tons more that I have yet to explore.  

Fiesta (or more formally, Old Spanish Days) is probably the one that Santa Barbara is best known for, and I must admit that until last summer, I had never actually experienced any of the Fiesta festivities!  It usually falls right around Joe’s and my anniversary, so we’ve always been out of town or otherwise, ahem, busy.  But last year it was the weekend before our anniversary, and I got to go out on the town with my Soulmate Neighbor (who is not actually my neighbor anymore) Michelle, and it was a blast!  

We had dinner and drinks at American Ale, walked around downtown and smashed confetti eggs all up in our hair (and purses and shirts and cars...), danced at a little Mexican bar I didn’t even know existed, and had a generally amazing time.  We even managed to escape the crazy crowds and take a late night stroll on the beach to talk about Deep Things and Jesus and stuff, which was maybe my favorite part even though I guess that’s not officially a “Fiesta-sanctioned” activity.

American Ale!

Confetti all over!

Walking to the beach!

This lovely lady.

Then there’s Solstice.  

Let me tell you a quick story about the first time I learned about the Solstice Parade.  One Saturday a few years ago, I decided to go downtown for some shopping and leisurely walking.  Traffic getting downtown on a Saturday around 10 AM was a little more congested than usual, but I thought nothing of it.  I parked, walked into a store, and about half an hour later when I came out, the streets were FLOODED with people and there were all manner of weird things happening in the middle of State Street.  Someone was inside a gigantic bubble, rolling around and doing some weird acrobatics or something.  

I immediately thought to myself, “Is this Fiesta?  I thought that was later in the year.”  I asked someone what was going on, and they looked at me like I was from another planet and said, “This is the Solstice Parade!”  And then I booked it out of there as fast as I could (which is to say, very slowly because ALL THE PEOPLE).  See, back in those days, I was still pretty introverted and averse to large crowds, especially when I wasn’t mentally prepared for a crowd, much less a crowd that was so dense I couldn’t even walk back to my car without brushing up against at least a hundred people.

I have not ventured back to the Solstice Parade since that day, but as I mentioned a couple days ago, I did co-host a solstice party last summer, which I think was way better because I was surrounded by all the people I actually WANT to be in such close proximity to, and I didn’t have to go far to get back to my own cozy home.

I’ve been to some of the other festivals in town on occasion, but I definitely hope to explore more of them in the future!  I missed the last couple Lemon Festivals, which is just so, so sad since I LOVE me some lemon meringue pie, lemon beer, and lemon cotton candy.  Next year!

1 comment:

  1. I avoid Fiesta and Solstice like the plague because I absolutely HATE dealing with the traffic snarls and parking nightmares they cause, plus I'm not a fan of pushing my way through sweaty masses, either.

    I much prefer the smaller festivals like the Jewish, Greek and French ones... I just wish they weren't at Oak Park, because parking there sucks, too!

    Lemon cotton candy is pretty awesome :-9


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