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  • Summer Solstice Workshop Sign, photo:
  • Young Girl Painting at Solstice Workshop, photo:

    Take The Nutcracker, a Metallica concert, and every Broadway hit, and what do they have in common? A team of tireless backstage individuals who sew, hang, hammer, and super-glue the magic of visual storytelling into place. In the case of our Summer Solstice parade, Santa Barbara is fortunate enough to have a community art space that—for months of the year—is transformed into a volunteer-powered hub of creative energy, where anyone is welcome and sequins rule.

    While it may appear that the neon-pink puppets, hula skirts, and giant balloons spontaneously arise from the asphalt at noon on parade day, for those involved in the artistic process—for those brave souls who pour hundreds of hours into crafting the perfect float, or choreographing a stellar dance—Solstice is a yearlong labor of love. And like most labors of love, the end product is directly proportional to the soul sprinkled in while it cooks: what’s given during those early stages, the ones that are noticeably free of adrenaline, but coursing with the energy that true imagination breeds.

    Solstice is fueled by devotion. As the Christmas months roll around and we’re still digging bits of papier-mâché out from underneath our fingernails, or finding spastic feathers glued to our favorite pants, we hardly mind; after all, it’s part of the process. And the process, the “people-powered” venture fueled by music, humor, and plenty of staple guns—well, that is what Solstice is all about, Charlie Brown. That, and the question: “What can you create?”

    Even if you’re a little shy, you can still participate in the making of the Parade. There are tools and supplies available and others to teach you how to make masks, costumes, and build floats. Just be creative or provide your assistance and have fun! The Solstice Organization supplies the materials and a dedicated staff of artists and knowledgable technicians to guide, and mentor you.

    Location: Community Arts Workshop, 631 Garden St.

    All participants must register to participate in the Workshop and/or Parade.