Things To Do in Santa Barbara: Festivals with Parades + a couple standalone parades

Beaches, hiking, pools, wine, food, and so many outdoor festivals. I am not even going to get started on the wine events in this post, there are so many I can and will dedicate an entire post just to wine events.  This post is focusing on festivals that also have parades!

Let’s start off with one of our favorite festivals, The Earth Day Festival. April 27 and 28, 2024.

Earth day was born in Santa Barbara. “On January 28, 1969, a well drilled by Union Oil Platform A off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, blew out…. On March 21, 1969, President Nixon came to Santa Barbara to see the spill and cleanup efforts, telling the crowd, “…the Santa Barbara incident has frankly touched the conscience of the American people.” During that same period, Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin saw the 800 square-mile oil slick from an airplane, which gave him the impetus to ratify a national day for environmental education, which he called Earth Day. On April 22, 1970, over 20 million Americans attended Earth Day teach ins and gatherings across the U.S., including a one-block long gathering organized by Community Environmental Council in Santa Barbara, that continues today as the annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival.” From SB Earth Day Website

Summer Solstice Parade

Another very popular festival with a parade is…

The Summer Solstice Parade. There are always fun themes and it’s super hot end culminates in an Earth Day Festival in Alameda Park. This year it takes place on June 21-23, 2024.

Celebrate Viva La Fiesta with Santa Barbara Old Spanish Days – Fiesta. There are pre fiesta events, dances, festivities, parades, rodeo and so many other celebrations and of course food. Fiesta takes place July 31 – August 4, 2024. If you are a parade person and love horses, definitely check the Friday horse parade out. It’s one of the largest equestrian parades in the country!








In December there are usually two parades in Santa Barbara. The Parade of lights in the harbor (usually the first Sunday of December). Boats dress themselves up in lights and parade around the ocean and the Holiday Parade. Milpas Street has a Holiday Parade. Downtown usually has a tree lighting event and a holiday parade, although I can’t find any info on when either are. The parade is usually the first Friday in December and starts at 6:30 – they may send that it will only be two hours but every walking parade always takes longer.

I will leave you with this:

There are many more events and festivals that also have parades is a start. Festivals & parades are fun and so are food tours. So, book your tours right now.


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