Downtown Holiday Parade

Friday, December 5, 2014 at 6:30 PM

2014 Theme: Winter Nights & Holiday Lights


More than 50,000 spectators are expected to line downtown Santa Barbara on Friday evening December 5th, to cheer on a colossal contingent of high-stepping marching bands, fabulous holiday floats, spectacular performance groups, local personalities, and of course, the most anticipated appearance of the evening...the annual arrival of Santa Claus, dispensing holiday cheer from atop his festive sleigh.


MEET & GREET: Friday, December 5th: Santa Claus - Paseo Nuevo Center Court, 4:00pm-5:30pm

The parade begins at 6:30pm at State Street and Sola Street and concludes at Cota Street. For more information, call 805-962-2098 ext. 800.


In the early 1950’s, a tradition began to decorate State Street with 40 foot tall Douglas fir Christmas trees during the holidays. These trees actually lined the center divider lines of what used to be a four lane street. Sponsored then by the Retail Merchants Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Parks and Recreation Department, the trees were officially dedicated and lit during the Children’s Christmas Parade by the Christmas Fairy. The Children’s Christmas Parade is now known as the Downtown Holiday Parade and is held annually, one week after Thanksgiving.

The parade, now in its 62nd year, has since evolved into Santa Barbara’s only nighttime street parade. After 31 years of Saturday morning debuts, the parade returned to the Friday evening tradition in 1998. This year’s tradition takes place on Friday, December 5th officially welcoming the holiday season downtown!


Downtown Holiday Parade: New Creative Workshop Announced

This year’s Winter Nights & Holiday Lights Downtown Holiday Parade has raised the bar! Downtown Santa Barbara has made great strides in making this year’s parade the most impactful and exciting experience ever for participants and attendees alike. Utilizing creative resources from our community, entries are encouraged to be more innovative and original than ever before!

The first ever Creative Workshop for parade participants will be held on Wednesday, October 29th from 5-7pm. In order to provide a wide range of presenters, Downtown Santa Barbara has joined forces with local businesses, artists, the Historic Theatre District and Summer Solstice. Each presenter will share their areas of expertise and with attendees, will brainstorm different cost effective ways of implementing the theme of “Winter Nights & Holiday Lights” into their parade entries. This unique collaboration and environment of the workshop is designed to cultivate new ideas and provide the resources needed to support the attendee’s visions.

The workshop will include presentations by:

Tracy Jackson, a well-known costume designer whose designs have enhanced parade entries and theatre groups alike. She is a long-term lead costumer for the Solstice Parade but is also locally known for her bridal work, Fiesta wear and Revels attire. She will be sharing ideas on how to design clever and quick costumes as well as creative ways to implement lighting into wearables for any parade entry.

Robby Robbins, a locally known Master Puppeteer whose finest work has been featured in the Solstice Parade, Lucidity Festival and at Burning Man. He will be sharing his expertise and artistry (learned from Anne Chevrefilf) on puppet design and adding verticality to your entry (costumes, props, etc.), thus changing the perspective of the audience. Using his unique skillset and resourcefulness, he will help enhance the vision and impact of this year’s parade entries.

Geoffrey Barber is a native Santa Barbarian who concentrates his efforts on creative silliness. He specializes in kinetic wheeled parade floats (bicycles, carriages, etc.) that are typically built from items found around the house. With more than a decade working with Solstice and Art from Scrap, Geoffrey plans to share his unique and sustainable approach in building truly creative parade entries. 

Please RSVP for the Creative Workshop by October 24th to:

Deadline: November 12, 2014

HEY KIDS! Enter the 2014 Prince & Fairy Art Contest! As the Holiday Prince or Fairy, you’ll ride in the December 5th Downtown Holiday Parade at 6:30pm.

The tradition of the Christmas Fairy, now the Holiday Prince & Fairy, began with the first parade in 1953.

The Holiday Prince & Fairy are chosen for their creativity and originality in an art contest sponsored by Downtown Santa Barbara.

To enter, please follow these guidelines:
• Open to children ages 6-10; one entry per child.
• On a separate piece of paper, no larger than 11" x 17" draw, color or paint a picture that represents the parade theme "Winter Nights & Holiday Lights."
• Entries MUST include child’s name and age, and parent or guardian’s name, address, and daytime and evening phone numbers.
• Entries must be received by 4 pm on Wednesday, November 12th.
• Children selected must be available to participate in the parade on Friday, December 5th.


Entries may be mailed to:
Downtown Organization
Attn: Prince and Fairy
Post Office Box 240
Santa Barbara, CA 93102

or dropped off Monday through Friday, 8am-4pm, at:

Downtown Santa Barbara Offices
27-B East de la Guerra
(between State Street and Anacapa Street across from City Hall)

Click here to view images from past Downtown Holiday Parades.