95th Annual Santa Barbara Holiday Parade

Santa Barbara Holiday Parade

The holiday season is approaching! This means Christmas tree lightings, holiday music, hot chocolate, and for the 65th year, the Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade! On December 1, line the streets of Santa Barbara with more than 65,000 other spectators as the city kicks off its only annual nighttime parade!


The Holiday Parade

The parade will begin Friday, December 1at 6:30pm. It will take place in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street and will stretch from Sola to Cota. The parade kicks off the holiday season in Santa Barbara and will feature high-stepping marching bands, fantastic themed floats, performance groups, a Grand Marshall (to be announced) and much more! Last year’s Co-Grand Marshalls of the parade were Cody and Caleb Walker, brothers of the late Paul Walker. The Holiday Prince and Fairy, selected from child applicants who submit artwork best capturing the parade’s theme, lead the parade and light up the street throughout the parade route! The theme for the parade this year is “Colors of the Season.” As an attendee, expect to see a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors during the festivities!


History of the Parade

In the 1950s, a tradition began to decorate State Street with 40 feet tall Christmas trees during the holidays. The trees were officially dedicated during the Children’s Christmas Tree Parade, which is now know as the Downtown Holiday Parade, and held annually one week after Thanksgiving. Since then, the parade has evolved into Santa Barbara’s only nighttime parade, changing its debut from Saturday morning to Friday evening in 1998.


Positions in the Parade

Every year, a Grand Marshall is selected to host the parade. The Grand Marshall is usually a celebrity or icon that captures the heart of Santa Barbara or the surrounding area. A Holiday Prince and a Holiday Fairy are also selected from a pool of applicants. Applicants must be between the ages of 6-10 and submit a piece of artwork that judges believe best captures the theme of the parade for the year. The Holiday Prince and Fairy lead the parade route to preserve the parade’s origins as the Children’s Christmas Tree Parade.


As you prepare for this spectacular night filled with brilliant colors and holiday spirit, don’t forget to book a place to stay! Consider the beautiful boutique hotel, Inn at East Beach. With its warm, comfortable beds and luxurious amenities, this hotel will provide all of the relaxation and comfort you need after a long parade night.



Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade

Where: State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

When: Friday, December 1 | 6:30pm


Where to Stay

Inn at East Beach

A different kind of Santa Barbara hotel: friendly, charming and surprisingly affordable. 1029 Orilla Del Mar Dr, Santa Barbara, CA 93103

(805) 965-0546