Get into the holiday spirit in Santa Barbara

Staff Report

Photo by Stacy Bloodworth
This annual event is by far one of the season’s stand-outs, drawing hundreds of families to watch as dozens of brightly decorated boats parade around the Santa Barbara harbor.

Festival season is year-round in Santa Barbara and surrounding communities, but the holiday season includes additional cheer, merriment and the Parade of Lights along the waterfront.

Held Dec. 10, this annual event is one of the season’s stand-outs, drawing hundreds of families to watch as 20 to 30 brightly decorated boats parade around the Santa Barbara harbor to the theme of Hollywood Holidays. During the festivities, make a visit to Santa’s Village, where the kids can play in 10 tons of snow and take photos with Santa.

If you want to surround yourself with that holiday-time feeling, there’s no better place than Solvang during Julefest, a month-long celebration of holiday-spirited events. Solvang was named by Time Magazine as one of the “Most Christmassy Towns in America,” and Julefest is the pinnacle event to attend for anyone who’s looking to get a last -minute holiday fix.

Top events include the Julefest Parade (Dec. 2), Shop, Mingle & Jingle (Dec. 1-3, 8-10, and 15-17) and the two-day passport Julefest Wine & Beer Walk (Dec. 9-10) — all in the historic Danish town famous as “California’s Little Denmark.”

For more information log onto www.solvangusa.com.

During December, theaters across town offer can’t-miss, world-class performances that include the Moscow Ballet’s “The Nutcracker.”
Photo contributed

We spend nights at the theater

As night falls on Santa Barbara, the theater lights shine bright. During December, theaters across town offer can’t-miss, world-class performances. Spend your night in Santa Barbara’s Historic Theater District, perhaps starting with dinner and drinks before heading to the show.

Here are a few upcoming events exclusively in December: “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” (Nov. 30 – Dec. 17), “Rudolph” (Dec. 2), “An Irish Christmas” (Dec. 7), “The Nutcracker” (Dec. 9-10), “Hallelujah Project 5” (Dec. 9-10), “Under The Streetlamp: Hip Hop to the Holidays” (Dec. 9), “The Christmas Revels” (Dec. 15-17), “The Blind Boys of Alabama Holiday Show” (Dec. 16), and “Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 14th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour” (Dec. 18).

Each year the Santa Barbara Zoo hosts the Snow Leopard Festival, complete with imported snow.

We play in the snow

No need to sacrifice your dreams of a winter wonderland for a beach vacation getaway.

Each year the Santa Barbara Zoo invites you and your kiddos to the Snow Leopard Festival. This year’s festival takes place on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and includes sledding down the zoo’s “mini-Himalayan” mountains. Celebrate the beautiful and endangered snow leopard while you romp in the snow.

Photo Credit: Instagram Fan @montecrofts
Rincon Point is one of the epic local surfing spots.

We have beach days

Wait for the perfect set or just watch the waves at one of the area’s best scenic surfing locations, such as Rincon Point. A little “winter” weather doesn’t slow us down, and beach days are still in full effect season. In fact, surfers rejoice over winter in Santa Barbara, as waves ramp up and allow for a longer, more powerful surfing session.

For more information and to see the full calendar, log onto www.santabarbaraca.com and click on Events.

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