Sunday, June 22, 2008


If you're going to do the recumbent thing I say go with the pinwheels, the rainbow whirly-gigs, dress in an Elmo suit and for chrissakes put some gold fluffy stuff in your wheels!

At the beginning of June everyone I met in Santa Barbara started talking about "Solstice". "You're going to Solstice aren't you? Everyone goes to Solstice - It's THE thing!" Well I couldn't believe that any one event/parade could be such a big deal but they were right. Solstice is a tremendous deal in Santa Barbara. I'm sure people are already planning their floats and costumes for next year.

It draws nearly the ENTIRE town - over 100,000 attend every year. The route travels for about a mile up the main drag, State Street, a gentle incline the whole way. One of the rules for this parade is every entry must be human powered only - no motors. The unspoken rule is: half naked is better! A woman in the crowd told me that in the early days there was a lot more nudity but they've toned it down recently.

The whole parade makes a turn at the mile mark that lands the whole glittery, undulating celebration by flooding into Alameda Park. There awaits a tie-dyed, new age, beaded, braided, fringed, face-painted, dread-locked, didgeridoo playing, peace nicked, tree hugging, hippie love fest extravaganza that would make Jerry Garcia shed a tear of joy. And they sell imported beer! It was so, like, conscious and metaphysical and creative and free. If you didn't know you were in California you sure as align-my-chakras know it now!

It really struck me how the whole city came out for this from every walk. I even saw elderly couples in druid-style forest spirit masks, men and women with flowers in their hair. It was beautiful, every bit of it. Like Jimi said: "I'm gonna wave my freak flag high." And Santa Barbara will welcome you if you do.

I focused on anything bicycle in keeping with our theme here. The theme of the parade, however was: "Solar Flair". Go put on some tie dye, assume your favorite yoga position and enjoy.

This stilt walker...I'll call him Father Rainbow Flowers, was going along blessing the crowd.

This is a guy named Bryan and his killer red Monster Cruiser, or was it Mega Cruiser?
The heat has made me forgetful.

This thing, whatever it is, was just so pretty.

Obviously all the triangles were painted by children.

Solstice Trike - Yeeeeaahh Dude!

Lots and lots of twirling people. Lots.

And hula hooping and drumming.

Terrific, wonderful, irresistible drumming throughout.

This is actually a homeless man who had decorated his bike for the occasion.
I found that very touching.

And speaking of incredibly cute kids.

My favorite by far. Is this not an awesome dragon?

And remember: human powered - check out the guy pushing it all the way UP State Street. Temps were in the 90s today.

This was hilarious. It's a shark ("landshark"). It belongs to a float with mermaids and a fishing boat. The shark chases the mermaids and spectators around only he did it like a bull fighter. He would chase then back off, pretend he wasn't interested and then lunge at you.

Because everyone needs a gold pyramid on casters, to, ya know, channel energy
or be a beacon for aliens, or...?

Many colorful hats

Of course Pharaoh has something to do with solstice!
Ancient Egyptians worshiped the sun god Ra - and he road a bike too!

I brought my own seating arrangements as you can see.

The finale
(I had to move out of the sun as my shoulders were frying like a potato chip).
It's a big inflated sun and if you look closely there is a girl in the middle dancing on a pole... yeah you read right.

There was also a very beautiful, Polynesian-looking young woman wearing nothing but a tiny silver g-string and a pair of tiny white floral pasties blowing on a conch shell and jumping up and down, but I decided to spare you men the trauma of such an image.

editor's note: to those of you who flocked to this blog in search of pictures of the nearly naked girl in pasties...PSYCH!

...and all the village danced, drank mead and enjoyed life on into the night until the sun rose up again.


cyclonecross said...

Wow - you sure know how to throw a parade on the west coast. The pic's are great - thanks for sharing!


Kk said...

hey Cyclonecross (gb) thanks for looking in on my little blog and giving the blog love! Glad you like it. You have some really great eco-info on your blog!