Fireworks and American spirit soar in Santa Barbara County
Happy birthday, America!
The anniversary of July 4, 1776, was celebrated with festivals, parades and fireworks Monday in Santa Barbara County.
The Fourth of July began with the return of a 20-year-tradition: the Montecito Fire Department’s pancake breakfast. Proceeds went to the Montecito Firefighters Association.
A few hours later, Dana Newquist’s 1937 Ford fire engine and other entries graced the parade that went from Upper Manning Park to the upper Montecito village.
Meanwhile, there was a patriotic bike race in Lompoc (followed by a festival in Ryon Park), the Lions Club barbecue in Carpinteria, a festival in Solvang at Old Mission Ines and bands playing at a West Beach bandstand.
That was the Fourth of July in Santa Barbara County, and it was clearly the county’s most active, most festive Independence Day since 2019.
People throughout the county enjoyed a holiday that ended dramatically with fireworks in Santa Barbara, Solvang and Santa Maria.
In the afternoon, there was plenty going on at Stearns Wharf, everything from face painting to a performance by the popular local rock band Area 51.
And with Old Spanish Days just a month away, Fiesta dancers got into the spirit with their performance at the West Beach bandstand. The day of performances also included Detar Music Review, Drifting Dimension, Sweetheart Sisters, Why Golf Why, Brandi Lentini and Band, Slideways + La Boheme dancers, Riding Out the Storm, False Puppet and Petty Set Go.
Other live music was taking place at Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta, where The Nombres and The Wrinkled Teenagers played during the Old Fashioned Fourth celebration.
This year’s Fourth also brought something new. The Prime Time Band of Santa Barbara succeeded the West Coast Symphony as the ensemble performing the Independence Day concert at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.
The early evening concert in the Sunken Gardens featured a blend of patriotic and popular music, and vocal soloist Gary Johnson sang the National Anthem.
As the band played before the crowd on beach chairs and blankets, another vocalist, Santa Barbara TV weather reporter Anikka Abbott, performed the jazz classic “Fever” and the patriotic “God Bless America.” She also sang a song from the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which later became the signature song for crooner Andy Williams: “Moon River.”
The Prime Time Band played everything from a medley of Aretha Franklin hits to a medley of Westerns, along with patriotic music such as “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
At the same time, people in Santa Maria were enjoying three hours of live music with Mestizo at the Elks Events Center, where fireworks later soared. The crowds also gazed at the sky and heard the glory during the fireworks above Old Mission Ines in Solvang and West Beach in Santa Barbara.
It was the sights and sounds of the celebration of being with friends and families as America marked the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It was a day for fun, music and patriotism.
It was a day when the American spirit in Santa Barbara County soared as high as the fireworks.