With the Christmas tree on State Street newly installed last Tuesday morning, downtown Santa Barbara has officially swung into the holiday season. The tree-lighting ceremony will signal the beginning of the holiday parade, which heads off from Sola and State streets on Friday, December 4, at 6:30 p.m. The Holiday Prince, Christian Johnson, 10, and Holiday Fairy, Mikayla Bohm, 9, get to light the tree, which is being festooned with new LED lights and a new tree-topper.
This year’s Grand Marshal comes straight from Hollywood. R2-D2, who has appeared in all the Star Wars films and is a member of the Robot Hall of Fame, will ride the Grand Marshal’s float accompanied by the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy team armed with light sabers and costumed as Storm Troopers.
These excited participants will be followed by marching bands, local celebrities in vintage automobiles, and large floating balloons. And the ultimate float, of course, will feature Saint Nick himself, fresh from a 4-5:30 p.m. photo session with the public at Paseo Nuevo.
The Downtown Organization of Santa Barbara has held this holiday parade for 63 years, with the help of innumerable volunteers and sponsors. Southern California Edison donated this year’s tree, chopped down in Shaver Lake, California, as part of Edison’s reforestation program. The 55-foot fir traveled the 300 miles to Santa Barbara courtesy of Consumer Fire Products, Inc.