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Waterfront Events CalendarWaterfront

Saturday May 16, 2020
8:00 AMOperation Clean Sweep

The seafloor in any busy harbor may be littered with lost or discarded junk, impacting the environment just like litter on land. Ever wonder, “What’s down there, where does it come from and does anybody ever clean it up?”

On Saturday, May 16th you’ll find out.

Santa Barbara Harbor’s Operation Clean Sweep, a seafloor debris cleanup program, holds its 13th annual event on Saturday, May 16th. A team of volunteer divers, supported by 40 or so volunteer dock workers, will remove junk from beneath Fish Float North and the City Pier. Divers will locate the junk and dock volunteers will cart it off for disposal. The event begins at 8:00 a.m., with a briefing on the Travel Lift Pier beneath the Harbormaster’s Office, complete with free coffee and donuts, and concludes with a hearty box lunch at 11:30 a.m.

During past events, volunteers—many of them “Clean Sweepers” from the start—removed a total of 21.2 tons of debris from Santa Barbara Harbor. Items retrieved during past years ranged from bicycles, barbeques, plastic barrels, and boat propellers to pipers, wire cages, outboard engines, phones, computers, and the occasional marine battery.

The City of Santa Barbara’s Waterfront Department joins volunteers from NOAA, SB Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, SB Sail and Power Squadron, Santa Barbara Surfrider Foundation, Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute, and harbor dive businesses in this effort.

For more information about the event or to volunteer, call the Harbormaster’s Office at (805) 564-5531 or visit

Saturday May 30, 2020
8:00 AM11th Annual Santa Barbara Harbor Nautical Swap Meet

On Saturday, May 30th, the 11th Annual Harbor Nautical Swap Meet will attract hundreds of treasure hunters to the Main Harbor Parking Lot from 8 a.m. to noon. Dozens of vendors will display and sell boat rigging, surfboards, fishing gear, inflatable boats, pumps, winches, boat motors, and other marine/nautical items. Spend the morning looking for new gear while enjoying free coffee, fruit, and other refreshments care of the Harbor Merchants Association. Admission is free.

To sign up as a vendor ($10 per spot), contact Harbor Operations at (805) 564-5531 or visit Vendor applications are available online or at the Harbormaster’s office beginning Monday, April 13th.

Saturday July 4, 2020
11:00 AMSanta Barbara Independence Day Celebration

Mark your calendars early for the all-day Fourth of July festivities along the waterfront. Come for music, food, fun, and sun Saturday, July 4th with an all-American celebration at West Beach and on Stearns Wharf. Working with its nonprofit partner, local musicians will bring fun summer sounds and patriotic music to a West Beach stage, and food vendors will stage along Cabrillo Boulevard from State to Castillo streets from noon to 9 p.m. Also at the beach, Stearns Wharf is keeping its music line-up and family-friendly fun from 11 a.m. until the fireworks begin. The Wharf is also a prime spot to view the show!

The day of celebration ends with a bang during a 20-minute fireworks display paid for by the City’s Waterfront Department. Fireworks will launch from West Beach starting at approximately 9 p.m. and be simulcast on local radio station 92.9 FM and live streamed on The City thanks KjEE and KEYT for their support of this community event. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early for the free fireworks display or tune in to KjEE to enjoy the choreographed production from anywhere in the city.


The public is strongly encouraged to use Santa Barbara MTD, Amtrak Surfliner, walk, or bike to the waterfront. Go to for MTD bus and shuttle schedules, plus additional biking and parking information.

Saturday October 17, 2020
10:00 AM19th Annual Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival

Celebrate Santa Barbara Channel’s bounty and the fishermen who harvest it at the 19th Annual Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival on Saturday, October 17th. This free event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., luring seafood lovers to Santa Barbara Harbor for one of our community’s most cherished events. Timed to celebrate the opening of lobster season, the Festival showcases fresh, regional seafood in addition to live music, maritime education, free boat rides, children’s activities, vessel tours, and more. There’s fun to be had for all ages.

The Harbor & Seafood Festival offers an interactive day for visitors and locals alike, reminding us that Santa Barbara Harbor is a working harbor where more than 100 fishermen land millions of pounds of seafood each year, adding $30 million to the local economy and beyond.

Come enjoy an abundance of sustainably harvested, high-quality seafood. Meet fishermen face-to-face. Select local fresh-caught lobster, crab, and sea urchin “uni” and have them prepared on the spot. Visit specialty food booths for fish tacos, oysters, mussels, barbequed albacore, fresh crab, clam chowder, and seafood paella. A hit with visitors, the Maritime Museum’s local wine and seafood pairing features Central Coast wines paired with seafood dishes prepared by local chefs (noon – 3 p.m. during the festival).

While local bands play live on a main stage, peruse special festival memorabilia, shop for a variety of art, clothing, and other unique gifts, and enjoy free harbor boat rides aboard the Double Dolphin and Azure Seas.

The Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival is presented by the City of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department, Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara, Inc., and the Santa Barbara Harbor Merchants’ Association, along with various community partners and volunteers.

Visit for more details.

Sunday December 13, 2020
3:00 PM34th Annual Santa Barbara Parade of Lights

Come join in the holiday fun, Sunday, December 13th, at the 34th Annual Parade of Lights. All event activities are FREE!

Beginning at 3 p.m. families can visit Santa’s Village on the City Pier in the Harbor. There will be holiday elves handing out goody bags and 10 tons of snow. Santa Claus will be in attendance, so bring your camera to take a free family photo!

At 5 p.m. a tree-lighting ceremony, accompanied by the San Marcos High School Choir, will be held on Stearns Wharf next to the Sea Center. Then, at 5:30 p.m., around 30 illuminated watercraft will light up the night as they parade around the waterfront and vie for hundreds of dollars in cash and prizes. The parade will be capped off by a brief fireworks show. Best viewing locations for the boat parade and fireworks include Stearns Wharf, the breakwater, and East Beach.

Registration for the competition opens in late November and, as always, it’s free to enter! Participants can enter one of five categories: human-powered, power, sail, commercial fishing, or commercial other. Pick up your entry form at the Harbor Market, Harbor Fuel Dock, Waterfront offices, or go online.

Visit for additional details.

Last Updated: Aug 22, 2018
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