The warmth and soul of Christmas parades down Milpas Street Saturday night with bands, youthful entertainers, and Santa on a red fire engine to celebrate the season and delight onlookers. Starting off at Canon Perdido Street at 5:30 p.m., the parade will head past festively decorated storefronts and the all-solar-powered Christmas tree at the 101 roundabout. Though the solar panels that light the tree were vandalized, the holiday spirit prevailed when nearby Fire Station 2 and the Santa Barbara City Firefighters Association immediately stepped up to purchase the tree, which enabled the Milpas Community Association to see to the lights.
Presiding over the parade will be grand marshal Rick Feldman, owner of Santa Barbara Eyeglass Factory at Milpas and Quinientos streets. On the Sunday after the parade, Feldman’s shop and a number of eye doctors will examine and provide with glasses any child who needs them. To entertain those waiting in line — about 100-200 children have been served at this event annually, which is on its 20th year —volunteers, firefighters, police officers, and even Santa will be on hand, along with refreshments and a few other items like nutrition, diabetes, and dental screening opportunities. No child will be turned away, and latecomers can receive vouchers for a free exam on another day. Kids Day runs from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. at the Eyeglass Factory.