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Posted on September 6 at 8:43 a.m.
The Sunday Art Show was originally called "Sabado y Domingo" and was a popular weekend event which was held on both Saturday and Sunday (hence the name). It eventually became a victim of its own success, however, when downtown merchants started complaining that the local artists, "who paid no rent," were undercutting local stores and unfairly taking business away from them. This led to the political compromise that exists today, where the Art Show is only allowed to run on Sundays.
In recent years, the collapse of the U.S. economy has led to changes in the pattern of weekend visitors to Santa Barbara. It used to be that there would be heavy northbound traffic coming up from L.A. on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings - followed by heavy southbound traffic on Sunday as weekend visitors returned to L.A. from Santa Barbara and points north.
This pattern has changed since the Great Recession. These days, while there is still heavy northbound traffic on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, a new pattern has emerged.
In addition to the usual weekend traffic, there is now heavy southbound traffic on Saturday evenings and heavy northbound traffic on Sunday mornings. Clearly, while some visitors still come up for the weekend, a significant number of visitors are choosing to drive up just for the day.
This shifting pattern has led to a significant decline in attendance at the Art Show, since none of the tourists who come up just for the day on Saturday are able to attend the event, which is now only held on Sundays.
Perhaps this would be a good time to revisit this issue, given the changes to the pattern of visitors to Santa Barbara. It would be nice for the artists to have more options.
On Sunday Art Show Suffers Not-So-Benign Neglect