Dust off your beret and prep your poodle, because the French Festival starts today at Oak Park for two days celebrating the world of French culture.
The popular event, now in its 26th year, features food, drink, dancing, music and fun for the whole family, whether you come from a French background or just love the romance of Paris, or the taste of a good croissant.
Ooh-la-la! The French Festival returns to Oak Park next Saturday and Sunday for its 26th year of celebrating Bastille Day and French culture and influence all over the world, from Vietnam to New Orleans.
Visitors will be able to check out the can-can, listen to chanson, eat baguettes and wear berets freely. Basically, if it’s French in any way, you’ll find it at the park.
The LGBT community has a lot to celebrate this year as Pride at the Beach approaches Saturday.
During 2014, Oregon and Pennsylvania became the 18th and 19th states to legalize same-sex marriage, and as recently as this month Kentucky’s ban on the same was declared unconstitutional by a federal district court.
“After the DOMA decision last year, there was so much joy at the Festival,” says David Selberg, executive director of the Pacific Pride Foundation, a Santa Barbara-based organization that provides services for the LGBT community.
In other years the LGBT community partied in defiance but this time there’s cause to have fun, and Mr. Selberg is looking forward to the Saturday beach party that attracts somewhere between 5,000 to 6,000 attendees.
More than 40 vendor booths are planned along with food trucks and a dance tent sponsored by Wildcat Lounge. Live performers and speakers will take the stage.
The event has been held at Leadbetter Beach since 2006, when Mr. Selberg returned to Pacific Pride Foundation and was asked by many to fill the gap left with the closing of Santa Barbara’s last gay club.
Although Santa Barbara had its first Pride event in 1990 at Oak Park, the 2006 beach festival started something new.
“A lot of the community just wanted to have a sense of itself, as we achieved so much in our civil rights,” Mr. Selberg said. “It’s all so nice to come together, not just the LGBT community but our straight allies, and just celebrate.”
The highlights of the festival are the performers.
Cazwell is still a rarity in the hip-hop world: an out singer from New York — “If Biggie Smalls ate Donna Summer for breakfast,” as his PR agency bills him.
His hilarious song “I Saw Beyonce at Burger King” popped up on social network feeds in 2008 and since then he’s been a fixture of New York club life.
“He’s a big act at Pride shows across the country and we were lucky to get him a gig here,” Mr. Selberg said.
Fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race reality show will want to come see Morgan McMichaels, one of the big stars of the second season, who will be performing. Rock music comes from Lunden Reign, an up-and-coming Los Angeles band, and local artists Kat Devlin, SB Drag Divas and Technical Difficulties, among others.
And then there’s the third annual “Put Your Paws Up” dog show, where entrants are invited to dress up their pooch in rainbow gear and show off their canine skills. The “Pet with the Most Pride” gets to take home a prize.
Rep. Lois Capps and Assemblyman Das Williams will speak, as will Mayor Helene Schneider.
For those who can’t wait for Saturday, plenty of events lead up to the event.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Pacific Pride hosts a soiree at the Canary Hotel rooftop, free to enter and mingle. At 8 p.m. Thursday, the Wildcat will throw a Pride Girl Party, featuring Lesbo Bingo in the first two hours, and then the Drag Kings will perform.
On Friday, a photographic exhibit, “The Self Evident Truth Project,” features the work of photographer IO Tillet Wright, who documents people across America who don’t identify as 100 percent straight. Admission to the show at Santa Barbara Art Foundry is $15.
After Saturday’s festival, the party continues at Tonic Nightclub downtown, with encore performances of the festival’s drag shows, along with music all night, starting at 8 p.m. for $15 to $20.
On Sunday, Jill’s Place on Santa Barbara Street is hosting Pride Brunch, with a portion of proceeds going to Pacific Pride.
For many in the LGBT community, the Pacific Pride Festival can be important on a personal level, Mr. Selberg said.
“They can be young or they can be 80, but I’ve heard people say the first time they ever came out was at a Pride festival. And it’s always heartening to me, that coming to a Pride fest is a big deal. It’s still relevant and that visibility is a big thing.”
The Pacific Pride Festival runs from noon to 7 p.m., Saturday at Leadbetter Beach. Admission is free.
A misty morning turned to a sunny afternoon as thousands celebrated the final day of Santa Barbara’s 28th annual I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival at the Mission on Sunday.
With the smell of barbecued chicken wafting through the stalls of the Mission’s front lawn, visitors wandered around the margins of the hundreds of chalk artwork covering the 30,000-square-foot asphalt space below the bell towers.
Colorful drawings recreated old masters and family photos. Others were original works drawn large.
The 20,000 square feet of dark asphalt surrounding the Santa Barbara Mission will bloom into a rainbow of colors today as hundreds of chalk artists join in the 28th annual I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival.
Artists from Santa Barbara and beyond will turn the usually utilitarian surface into a patchwork of art works, created lovingly in chalk over the next few days, with the finished works presented on Monday.
Jessea Gay Marie was hard at work Thursday afternoon under the two bell towers of the Santa Barbara Mission.
As this year’s featured artist for I Madonnari, the 28th annual Italian Street Painting Festival, she was working solo on a 12-by-16-foot space directly below the Mission steps. Above her dark clouds threatened rain – and would later sprinkle all over Santa Barbara – but she was ready.
“This is not American Idol or a contest. It’s the anti contest,” said AHA co-founder Jennifer Freed, just before an evening of performance on Sunday evening. “This is about having the courage to stand in front of you and sing out for joy and rapture and possibility.”
Around 350 people gathered at the large rotunda at Deckers’ Goleta headquarters in the early evening to watch 14 teenagers sing pop and rock hits, all with professional band backing them up.
It was the culmination of 12 weeks of rehearsals and training to take youths and help them confront their fears – lack of confidence, self-image, rejection – put it aside, and just “Sing It Out,” as the event was called.
Wearing hard hats and holding shovels that were more metaphorical than practical, members of the City Council, the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and the Summer Solstice broke ground Friday afternoon on a permanent home for the parade’s workshop.
The arts community also got a year-round work space in the bargain, a result of years of work by all involved.
With Friday’s ribbon-cutting, Summer Solstice returns to the complex at the corner of Ortega and Garden streets that it used from 2005 to 2011 on a year-to-year lease.
Four surviving members of the D-Day landing in Normandy were honored Thursday morning in a commemoration at Fess Parker’s Doubletree Resort.
Titled “The Boys Who Stormed Normandy,” the bruncheon honored Santa Barbarans Art Petersen, Bob Forties, Frank Johnson and Sal Perez in an event staged by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation and the Channel City Club.
At Westmont College”s Russell Carr Field on Saturday, 367 members of the Class of 2014 made their way to the podium to receive their diplomas and head out into the world while friends and family cheered.
The Christian college”s commencement featured choirs, awards, tributes to faculty both living and dead, and a rousing commencement speech by Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church.