Santa Barbara Beachfront Hotels

Special Events in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara Sandcastle Festival
Learn great tips for building amazing sandcastles and sand sculptures at a free community workshop a week before the annual Santa Barbara Sandcastle Festival on East Beach. The actual day of the event includes a sandcastle building contest, live music, hula dancing, and sand trap miniature golf. Teams of up to ten can participate and may use any sculpting tools they like. At the end of the day, the clever creations are judged by a panel and spectators vote for a "People's Choice Award." The event benefits two area non-profit organizations, which promote environmental protection in the county, the Citizens Planning Association and the Citizens Planning Foundation of Santa Barbara County.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta
Celebrate Santa Barbara's heritage during the Old Spanish Days Fiesta, originally intended to coincide with the opening of the new Lobero Theatre in August 1924. Today the parade is divided into two sections – one depicting Santa Barbara's history, including the Chumash Indians and Spanish founders, and another emphasizing Santa Barbara today. A highlight of the Festival is El Desfile Historico, one of the largest equestrian parades in the world.

Santa Barbara Harbor and Seafood Festival
Each October, the harbor comes alive with the Santa Barbara Harbor and Seafood Festival. Marking the official start of lobster season, this is one of the community's most cherished events. Take a free boat ride on the ocean on the Double Dolphin, sailing lessons from Santa Barbara Sailing Center, or watch a deep-sea diving demonstration. Fisherman cast nets along the pier all day and local chefs prepare delectable dishes.

Summer Solstice Celebration
The Summer Solstice Celebration on State Street is a uniquely Santa Barbara event. Established in 1974 by artist and mime Michael Gonzales, the Summer Solstice Celebration is now a 501©3 non-profit organization. A multicultural parade with more than 1,000 participants, the event preparation begins in early May. Professional artists-in-residents teach and collaborate with community members to build floats, puppets, and masks for the parade.

Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival
When was the last time you chalked a sidewalk? Over Labor Day Weekend, the I Madonnari Italian street painting festival transforms the Mission plaza into a world of vibrant, colorful chalk images. This festival has a sister festival in Grazie di Curtatone, Italy and benefits a non-profit arts education program called the Children's Creative Project.

Santa Barbara County Vintners' Festival
Every spring, the Santa Barbara County Vintners' Festival Weekend presents wines from over 100 wineries, some of the best local food, and music. The Festival celebrates the arrival of spring and a new vintage.


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