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Parade of LightsWaterfront

Let there be Lights!

2021 Parade of Lights is on.

Come to the harbor Sunday, December 12th, to enjoy one of Santa Barbara’s signature holiday events – the 35th Annual Parade of Lights. All event activities are FREE!

Beginning at noon families can visit a Winter Wonderland on the City Pier in Santa Barbara Harbor. There will be holiday elves, 10 tons of snow, and holiday music. It is rumored Santa may make an appearance but there will be no sit-with-Santa photos.

The theme for this year's parade is, "Magic Under the Moonlight." Different from years past, the Human-Powered category competition will be held during daylight starting at 4 p.m. Dozens of standup paddlers and kayakers dressed in festive attire will loop Stearns Wharf spreading holiday cheer. At 5 p.m. a holiday tree lighting ceremony will be held on the shoreward finger of Stearns Wharf next to the Sea Center. Then, at 5:30 p.m., around 30 illuminated watercraft will light up the night as they make their way from Ledbetter Beach down the coast to the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion, then back along the coast to Stearns Wharf.  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, West Beach, and East Beach. 

Registration for the competition is now open 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 click here to fill out and submit an entry form online. 

This year’s event is sponsored by the 2021 Parade of Lights Committee, City of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department, Santa Barbara Harbor Merchants Association, Stearns Wharf Business Association, and Santa Barbara Yacht Club.

So mark your calendars to get in the holiday spirit Santa Barbara style and head down to the Waterfront for an afternoon and evening of fun at the 35th Annual Parade of Lights on Sunday, December 12th.


For more information, contact Waterfront Public Information Officer, Chris Bell at 805-618-8642 or




Last Updated: Nov 9, 2021
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