The sky was slightly overcast on Saturday afternoon as the 2023 Solstice Parade began making its way down Santa Barbara Street. 

But the swarms of people — likely in the thousands — packing the side streets were in high spirits. Loyal Solstice attendees commented that they had never seen such a large turnout. 

Glimmering dancers in golden costumes adorned with jewels, crowns, and peacock feathers were the rays of sunshine illuminating the way for the stream of floats, roller-skaters, singers, puppets, and more that followed.  As the shimmering performers danced to songs like “Mambo No. 5,”  they encouraged parade-goers to dance alongside them. It would have been difficult for anyone to stay in a gloomy mood while surrounded by such sparkle. 

A sliver of sun was enough for Santa Barbara to nurture a good time and rediscover its “Roots” — the theme for this year’s Solstice. Fairies, mushrooms, flowers, trees, and gnomes were among Mother Earth’s representatives in the parade, branching out through the streets and truly selling the theme.  

As the parade progressed, the sun gradually peeked its head out. Attendees were aptly reminded of the bright, gorgeous community they gathered in. 

Butterflies guided the final few groups in the procession, floating around their large, mechanical sister with beautiful fluttering wings. “Here Comes the Sun” played from the float’s speakers, appropriately welcoming the star’s shining Saturday debut.

Indy photographer Ingrid Bostrom caught some of the most special moments from the parade — check out the light through her lens.

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