Santa Barbara Festivals

Santa Barbara Festivals

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

This two-week event is captivating for all ages as there are movies of all genres and ratings being shown. With celebrities and world famous directors and producers milling about, and the next raw talent being discovered, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be a makeshift paparazzi or an honest to goodness ticket holder for this annual event happening in late January early February.

Earth Day

Santa Barbara might just have the most environmentally friendly folks around as this celebration is off the charts. With contests geared towards minimizing your carbon footprint, the Earth Day festival will leave you feeling light and a little less detrimental to this planet. Come to get informed, or simply to show your support in living sustainably. Santa Barbara Earth Day is the signature annual event for Southern California environmental organizations to showcase their research.

Y Madonnari (Italian Street Painting Festival)

This is by far the coolest festival of them all. sTons of incredibly talented folks sign up to display immaculate chalk drawings out in front of the Santa Barbara Mission. The entire week before the festival, people are out feverishly chiseling away with their array of colorful pastels. Some of these drawings will blow you away with how intricate and beautiful they are. Who knew chalk could be used in such a delicate and wonderful way?

There’s also a kid’s chalk walk to the left hand side of the mission where kids can buy a square and this includes a pack of chalks for them to use. The kid’s section isn’t entirely for kids. If you’re not feeling like your skills are up to par with the big wigs up front, you can strut your stuff amongst the kiddies and no on will judge you. Happening every Memorial Day weekend, this festival is a must see to believe. It’s truly marvelous.

Summer Solstice

Colors piercing retinas, scents slithering up nostrils, sounds of all kinds clouding up your ears. Summer Solstice is nothing short of an elaborate and ecstatic cultural inoculation. Anything less than exuberant is stripped from the bloodstream, pumping joy and love in its place. It’s the start of summer! Nothing short of spectacular will do for this celebration. The parade will change your life and open your eyes to the cultural diversity of this city. The costumes and make-up are outrageous. The food is cornucopious. It happens in late June every year.

Live Oak Music Festival

A hippy style festival held in the foothills of Santa Barbara every Father’s Day Weekend, this event is rooted in music and community. It’s a three-day extravaganza so camping is necessary to get the full experience. Some of the finest musicians from around the world perform at Live Oak, making the experience that much more appealing. The genre of music varies annually from folk and bluegrass to jazz and classical. The Live Oak Music Festival has a little bit of something for everyone. But don’t forget your sleeping bag!

Santa Barbara French Festival

Fancy a jaunt to France without all that flying and jet lag? Head on over to the annual French Festival held in Santa Barbara’s Oak Park. Food, music, mimes, and jugglers galore, this event is bound to throw you and your whole family in a tizzy. It’s held on Bastille Day weekend mid July. Come celebrate and fill your belly French style.

Greek Festival

Featuring live Greek music and traditional Greek folk dancing, this event catapults you right into Greece. Admire the elaborate costumes, indulge in the plentiful and authentic Greek food, and please partake in a free dance lesson if you like. Or perhaps you’d simply like to relax in the shade of the oak trees and observe the delightful mayhem at hand. Whatever your pleasure, the Greek Festival has something fun for you. Held annually at the end of July at Oak Park.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta

Some Santa Barbara citizens of yore had a dream that someday they would create an event that would “appeal to the carnival spirit lurking in everyone, and at the same time perpetuate Santa Barbara’s picturesque early days’ atmosphere,” and that they did with the birth of Fiesta eighty-five years ago. It’s a three-day event exploding with colors, costumes, and confetti filled eggs. You’ll be cleaning the tiny colorful papers out of your hair for weeks. The clean up after this celebration is horrendous but the party and plethora of parades are all worth it. You must experience the monotony of fiesta to truly experience the culture of Santa Barbara. Happens annually in the beginning of August.

Sandcastle Festival

Are you an incredible sand sculptor? Are you keen on observing artists at work? Or do you simply have children with shovels and buckets that are aspiring sandcastle connoisseurs? Enter the coolest contest in the country, and when your masterpiece is complete, go size up your competition and check out their creations. Loads of live music and wet sand ensue at this annual event held in mid to late September.

West Beach Music Festival

Do you like music? Do you like the beach? Do you like watching drunk people fall off bicycles? Then the West Beach Music Festival is your kind of entertainment. From mainstream pop frenzies to local SB bands, the West Beach festival has it all. Oh, and endless food. Happens annually at the end of September.

Harbor and Seafood Festival

Hook, line, and sinker, if you love seafood this event is for you. Come kick off lobster season down at the harbor and enjoy food, fun, and free boat rides! Exotic seafood specialties and cooking demonstrations will dazzle you and your taste buds so get on down to the harbor to experience the Santa Barbara sea at its finest. Held annually in early October.

California Lemon Festival

Held in Goleta at Girsh Park every year, this festival has all the elements needed for a fun family outing. Go indulge in pie-eating contests, arts and crafts, and the best lemonade you’ve ever had. Admission and parking are free and the food is wonderful. It happens in October. Write it down.