Santa Barbara procession set for Dec. 12
The 35th annual Parade of Lights, a signature Santa Barbara procession of decorated watercraft, will set sail Dec. 12.
The theme is “Magic Under Moonlight” for the event, which is in-person again for the first time since 2019.
All of the holiday event’s activities are free. They’ll begin at noon when families can visit Winter Wonderland on the city pier in Santa Barbara Harbor.
That’s where families can play in 10 tons of snow and encounter holiday music and elves.
It is rumored that Santa Claus himself might show up.
Taking a turn from previous years, the Human Powered category competition will take place in the daylight at 4 p.m. Dozens of standup paddlers and kayakers dressed in festive attire will loop Stearns Wharf spreading holiday cheer.
The Holiday Tree lighting ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. on the shoreward finger of the Stearns Wharf next to the Sea Center.
At 5:30 p.m., around 30 illuminated watercraft, bedecked to this year’s theme, “Magic Under the Moonlight,” will light up the night as they make their way from Leadbetter Beach down the coast to the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion, then back along the coast to Stearns Wharf.
The parade will be capped off by a brief but spectacular fireworks show, according to a news release.
The best viewing locations for the boat parade and fireworks include Stearns Wharf, the breakwater, West Beach and East Beach, according to a news release.
Registration for the competition is open and, as usual, is free. Participants can enter one of five categories: Human-powered, Power, Sail, Commercial Fishing, or Commercial Other. You can pick up your entry form at the Waterfront offices, or go to santabarbaraca.seamlessdocs.com/f/paradeoflightsentry and submit an application.
There will be thousands of dollars worth of prizes.
New this year will be an opportunity to give back to the community.
The Waterfront Department is partnering with Toys for Tots to bring holiday cheer to those in need. Donation boxes will be located at the city pier and Stearns Wharf, next to the Holiday Tree. People are asked to bring new, unwrapped toys; books and stocking stuffers, designed for ages 1-14.
Donors are asked to avoid plush toys for sanitary reasons.
This year’s event is sponsored by the 2021 Parade of Lights Committee, the Santa Barbara Waterfront Department, Santa Barbara Harbor Merchants Association, Stearns Wharf Business Association and Santa Barbara Yacht Club.
For more information, go to www.santabarbaraca.gov/paradeoflights.