Photo Credit: Jon Endow
Summer in Santa Barbara only means one thing, there’s no shortage in happenings around town that celebrate the vast wine, culinary, music, and cultural scenes our Mediterranean mecca has to offer. Whether you and your crew have a fondness for swirling wine, dancing the night away, tasting flavors from around the world, or embracing the traditions of a myriad of cultures, Santa Barbara has a feast and festival for all.
In fact, take your pick! Visitors and locals alike are treated to countless festivals as the summer’s breezy days meander into warm fall nights.
WINE + BEER FESTIVALS
It’s no question that Santa Barbara wine country produces some of the most delicious varietals on the west coast, so any opportunity to savor them is one you don’t want to miss! Luckily the California Wine Festival (July 19-21) gathers vintners and wine lovers from all over to toast the harvest beachside, complete with live music and food for all. And if you’re craving live entertainment while you sip and swirl, the Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival (Sept 8) blends the thrill of polo matches and live music directly into your vino adventure. Should you desire to see where the grapes are grown in beautiful Santa Barbara wine country, the Celebration of Harvest (Sept 28-Oct 1) is a four-day fest dedicated to vineyard excursions, winery open houses, and delectable wine pairings. If hops are more your preference, the California Brew Festival (September 29) fuses seaside views with a variety of beer tastings from local breweries, food vendors and live music.
ARTS & CULTURAL AFFAIRS
Face painting, wine tasting, live music, and festive treats are just the beginning of all the fun activities 4th of July in Santa Barbara has to offer! Bring the whole family out to West Beach for a day of excitement, and as it cools off, cozy up on the sand for the grand finale of dazzling fireworks!
All summer long, swing and sway as the sun sets over Santa Barbara at Concerts in the Park (every Thursday, starting July 5). Lively bands keep the crowd grooving while you can enjoy a picnic with your friends and family. Don’t miss the Sunken Garden Film Series (every Friday starting July 6) either! Pack your dinner, a cozy blanket and get settled in for this year’s “Animated Nights” themed collection. Both recurring events are FREE and open to all ages.
An homage to Santa Barbara’s rich history and cultural traditions, Old Spanish Days Fiesta (Aug 1-5) draws visitors from up and down the coast to take part in a weekend full of live music, Spanish markets, colorful parades, and jaw-dropping dance performances. Don’t forget to purchase a few (dozen) confetti-filled eggs and join in on the festivities!
The Pacific Pride Festival (Aug 25) offers seaside entertainment, a local beer and wine garden, nonprofit booths, and a day in the sun celebrating with friends and family alike. If you need inspiration for your next masterpiece, or a gorgeous gift for a loved one, check out the Santa Barbara Sea Glass & Ocean Arts Festival (Sept 8-9) at Earl Warren Showgrounds. The handmade, ocean-themed art and genuine sea glass jewelry will dazzle you, and the talented artists who created the pieces will appreciate your patronage.
Known for its sprawling seaside orchards and bountiful summer fruit, Goleta is also home to the annual California Lemon Festival (Sept 29-30). The weekend-long fête includes an abundance of lemon-inspired treats, entertainment for all ages, plus a variety of arts and crafts booths and live music.
The Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival (Oct 13) is a family-friendly showcase of the sustainably-harvested and super fresh catch local fishermen have to offer. Come try straight-from-the-ocean sea urchin, oysters, lobster, and fish galore. Vendors will be cooking up seafood paella, crab, barbecued albacore, fish tacos, and much more. And if chowder is more your style, the Santa Barbara Chowder Festival (Oct 21) features a cooking competition between the town’s most innovative chefs and restauranteurs for the title of “Best Chowder in Santa Barbara.” Along with live music, wine and beer tasting, and a chance to sample warm, hearty comfort food, proceeds from the cook-off also benefit the Legal Aid Foundation.