Santa Barbara’s Iconic Stearns Wharf to Celebrate 150th Birthday

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To celebrate the 150th birthday of Stearns Wharf, a grand birthday bash is planned for Saturday, October 8, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 7:15 p.m.

This iconic structure, which has served as Santa Barbara’s front door, the birthplace of an industry, and the community’s plank park, will be honored with a full day of family-friendly fun, including cannon battles with a tall ship, an opera performance, live music, and a little history.

Festivities begin at 11 a.m on a high note with a stirring performance of operatic favorites by Opera Santa Barbara. The tall ship Mystic Whaler will be prowling the waters off the Wharf from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and word is there may be an exchange of gunfire with the Wharf Cannon.

At 2 p.m. the sea will be filled with a flotilla of sail boats as the Santa Barbara Yacht Club honors the wharf with a ceremonial regatta. Also at 2 p.m. at the end of the Wharf, local band Tequila Mockingbird will dish up their signature interpretation of the best classic and modern rock, blues, funk and groove.

The birthday celebration will offer a variety of family fun with free face painting for kids, a scavenger hunt with prizes, and free boat rides for kids 12 and under, when accompanied by an adult, on Lil’ Toot.

From noon to 4 p.m., Wharf restaurants will hold a friendly competition to see who serves the best clam chowder with free tastings. Participants in the tastings will be eligible to win coupons provided by the restaurants.

At 4:30 p.m. the Doublewide Kings take over the bandstand with their uniquely tweaked blend of original music and cover tunes of roots-rock, Americana, country-blues, and the glory days of 70s FM radio.

At 5:30 p.m. Santa Barbara’s favorite historian, Neal Graffy, will emcee the birthday ceremony while regaling the crowd with tales of the Wharf’s colorful past. There will be a brief convocation by local dignitaries followed by cake and a toast.

The day will be capped at 7 p.m. with a brilliant five-minute fireworks show.

All activities are free and open to the public thanks in part to generous sponsors: Visit Santa Barbara, Jordano’s and Condor Express.

For more information check out stearnswharf.org.

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