Walk Like A Performer
“Without a doubt, the Summer Solstice parade is the most artistically creative and outrageous event in Santa Barbara, and one of the most fun.”
– Santa Barbara Family Life
In a couple weeks thousands of people will fill State street to watch the Summer Solstice parade. It is an event that has been celebrated by many since 1974. The event was originally a birthday celebration for a famous mime and artist named Michael Gonzales, and has evolved into the celebration that we know today. It is estimated that about 100,000 people come out each year just to watch the locals celebrate the beginning of summer. It is a time when spectators can momentarily slip back into their childhood and experience the excitement of summer as they did when they were a kid.
Most of the spectators don’t realize how long the dancers have been performing, so I decided to give a quick tour of the route.The parade starts at State street and Cota and continues on until Alameda park. Even though it is only a mile walk, it takes the dancers two hours to perform the whole thing. Something that is ordinarily a quick walk feels like an eternity while performing. I remember when I was performing last year, I thought that I would never make it to the park. After performing our routine over and over for two hours, I was extremely exhausted; but obviously I enjoyed it since I am doing it again this year.
Even though I am performing with a dance troupe, there are many who sign up to be in the parade independently. Anyone can perform in the parade, you just have to go on to the Solstice Parade site and download the registration packet. The combination of professional dancers and people who just like to have fun, give this parade an eccentric twist. Last year there was even an independent group of rollerbladers. So who knows maybe after you watch this year’s parade, you will want to join next year!