The Best Santa Barbara Festivals

Recommended Santa Barbara Festivals

The greater Santa Barbara area hosts over 15 festivals, which truly enliven the creative and cultural spirit of the community throughout the year. From sea to sun, orchard to orchid, film to Fiesta, the whole year’s a parade of good eats and memorable experiences.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta

The annual Santa Barbara Fiesta is an eight day long celebration of the history, traditions, and spirit of Santa Barbara, honoring its native American, Spanish, Mexican, and early American roots and displaying the liveliness of the community today in the diversity and enthusiasm of its many participants. Residents and visitors from far and wide revel in the colorful parades and performances, historical tours, and delicious foods that have made Fiesta a top regional festival in the nation.

Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Given its knack for predicting Academy Award® winners, a proximal distance to Los Angeles and timing close to the big event, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is one of the largest events in Santa Barbara. SBIFF takes place here in this beautiful California coastal city, which is considered to be the American Riviera. With the city’s desirability as a destination and the Festival’s attraction of stellar luminaries and exceptional programming, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is truly a must see every January.

Summer Solstice Celebration & Parade

Today, the Summer Solstice Celebration and Parade has evolved into a street carnival of more than 1,000 parade participants, of all ethnic backgrounds, complete with extravagant floats, whimsical costumes and creatively choreographed dancing ensembles. Also included is an annual artistic competition for the Solstice T-shirt and Poster design, which serve as the main fundraising vehicle for the event. Visit the Solstice Store or Poster Gallery to purchase T-shirts or posters from years past. The Festival in Alameda Park grew from earlier gatherings at the Sunken Gardens of the County Courthouse. When the number of people outgrew the capacity of the courthouse, the event was moved to Alameda Park where everyone can enjoy music, food, arts and crafts, a drum circle, a special free children’s festival, and more.

Avocado Festival

This annual event takes place in the first week of October and has grown into one of the largest festivals in California. The Avocado Festival is hosted by the city of Carpinteria (just south of Santa Barbara) and is currently the South Coast’s largest free festival, offering three days of food, entertainment, and smooth, green fun. Many acts, vendors (showcasing all things avocado, including ice cream), and, of course, copious amounts of guacamole, make this a must-visit event.

Lemon Festival

The Lemon Festival is a weekend-long, family-friendly festival celebrating Goleta’s historic agricultural identity and present day produce. Delicious food, fabulous local entertainers, classic rides and amusements, pie-eating contests, and interactive exhibitions make it the most anticipated event in the Goleta Valley.