Downtown Santa Barbara Welcomes the Holiday Season

Small Business Saturday, Sampling State, Annual Holiday Parade and Tuba Christmas are among the many special events coming to SB!

Rescue dog Mojo with Handler Tracee Walker, courtesy photo.

Rescue dog Mojo with Handler Tracee Walker, courtesy photo.

Downtown Santa Barbara (DSB) is raring and ready for Holiday shopping, Holiday dining, Holiday Happy Hour, Holiday parties, Holiday strolling, Holiday décor and lights viewing, and last but not least, Holiday events!

“This is our busiest and most anticipated time of year,” says Kate Schwab, DSB Marketing & Communications Director. “We’re looking forward to kids in costumes, music, celebrating our great small businesses and a Parade to remember.”

Courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

Courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

First up is Small Business Saturday Sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, on Saturday, November 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out the SBS Welcome Center at Historic Storke Placita (700 State St.) to find Downtown SB booths with block by block information, try your hand at DSBingo, Downtown Trivia, Spin the Wheel to Win and the ever-popular Corn Hole, and enjoy the festive tunes of Holiday Horns.

At 11 a.m., Downtown restaurants will step outside to offer tastes of their fare for Sampling State. “Our goal with Sampling State is that restaurant doors will swing open at the same time, offering small bites from their great menus,” says DSB Business Manager, Erik Krueger.

Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, courtesy photo.

Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, courtesy photo.

Friday, December 7 is the Downtown Santa Barbara Annual Holiday Parade Presented by Consumer Fire Products Inc. Starting at 6:30 p.m., check out the big balloons, marching bands, and the Grand Marshal(s) sponsored by Lemos Feed & Pet Supply —four heroic K9 dog teams of Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue. The 66th Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, Presented by Consumer Fire Products Inc. starts at Sola St. and continues down State St. to Cota St.

Tuba Christmas comes downtown on Saturday, December 15 at noon. Get your oom-pah-pah on with this nearly 30-year-old brass tradition! Tap your toes to the beloved Christmas Brass/Trombone Christmas /TubaChristmas concert in Storke Placita.

“This holiday more than ever, we’re inviting Santa Barbara residents downtown to support all our great local businesses, win a prize or two, enjoy some music and some tastings,” says Schwab. “It’s a fabulous way to kick off the 2018 Holiday shopping season!”

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 19, 2018.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art at MCASB

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 - January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 – January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

The new exhibit opening this weekend at Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB), “Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art,” is a series of light-boxes and video animations by Oakland-based artist Kota Ezawa that chronicles some of the most infamous and high-profile museum heists in history. At the heart of this exhibition is a series of images paying homage to the 13 artworks—including those by Degas, Manet, Rembrandt and Vermeer— stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 - January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art , Installation view at SITElab, SITE Santa Fe, NM, October 7, 2017 – January 10, 2018, Photo: Eric Swanson.

Ezawa’s digital interpretations of the stolen masterpieces are presented to scale and illuminated in light-boxes that serve as modern apparitions of the centuries-old works. According to MCASB, “These technological vestiges are at once copies of the originals, while also carrying the mark of Ezawa’s animated hand. Reduced to flat planes of color, the original paintings take on new life as Ezawa plays with ideas of appropriation and originality.”

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video, Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video, Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Also on display with the light boxes are video works, including a black and white reproduction of the security footage of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist.

“My prior drawings exclusively used photographs as source material. This series for the first time draws upon painting only to recognize that painters before 1850, like Rembrandt and Vermeer, were essentially the photographers of their time. In the absence of photographs, their paintings take on the task of recording reality with the scrutiny and minuteness that we now expect from cameras,” says Ezawa. “In this way, the new series extends my project ‘The History of Photography Remix’ into the pre-photography age of images. In addition, I feel compelled to produce an exhibition dealing with ‘stolen artworks’ because my own process could be regarded as a form of image theft. One could say I’m hoping to steal these images back and give them a new life.”

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video, Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Still from Exquisite Corpse , 2017, Single-channel color video,
Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery,
San Francisco.

“In the absence of the original works, viewers must rely solely on reproductions of the lost Stewart Gardner paintings. Whether printed in a textbook, projected in a lecture hall, or gathered from Google image search results, artwork reproductions are ubiquitous. In this way, Ezawa asks: what does it mean to be original?” say the Organizers.

Kota Ezawa, Empty Frame , 2015, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox, 24 x 33 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Empty Frame , 2015, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox,
24 x 33 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Ezawa’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions at SITE Santa Fe (2017), Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2013), Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite (2012) and Hayward Gallery Project Space, London (2007), as well as in recent group

Kota Ezawa, Munch Theft , 2017, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox, 40 x 50 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines Gallery, San Francisco.

Kota Ezawa, Munch Theft , 2017, Duratrans transparency and LED lightbox, 40 x 50 in., Courtesy the Artist; Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica; and Haines
Gallery, San Francisco.

exhibitions at Hamburger Kunsthalle (2018); Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2017); Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain (2017); and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2016). Ezawa’s work has earned a number of awards, including the SECA Art Award of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006), a Eureka Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation (2010), and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award (2003). His work is included in renowned collections such as: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and Kunsthalle Bremen, among others.

Kota Ezawa: The Crime of Art  was curated by Irene Hofmann and organized by SITE Santa Fe with the Mead Art Museum.

The opening reception is Saturday, November 10, from 6 – 8 p.m., with a special discussion session, “In Conversation: Kota Ezawa with Curator Irene Hofmann,” that evening from 5-6 p.m.  The show will remain on view through February 3, 2019 at MCASB, 653 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, mcasantabarbara.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 9, 2018.

Paths of Gold: Japanese Landscape and Narrative Paintings from the Collection

Views of Itsukushima and Wakanoura (detail), Japanese, Edo period, mid-17th century. Ink, color, and gold leaf on paper; pair of six-panel folding screens. SBMA, Museum Purchase, Peggy and John Maximus Fund.

Views of Itsukushima and Wakanoura (detail), Japanese, Edo period, mid-17th century. Ink, color, and gold leaf on paper; pair of six-panel folding screens. SBMA, Museum Purchase, Peggy and John Maximus Fund.

Choice selections from Santa Barbara Museum of Art‘s extensive Japanese painting collection are on view beginning Saturday, November 10, in the new exhibit Paths of Gold: Japanese Landscape and Narrative Paintings from the Collection.

Traditional Japanese houses were constructed of wood with paper windows and doors, and rice-straw matting (tatami mats) covering the floors. Each room—separated by sliding door panels—was like a virtual blank slate that could be repurposed and redecorated to suit each purpose, and, for certain occasions, could be outfitted with glistening screens and objects of color and gold.

Screens were changed seasonally or commissioned specifically for a celebration, a gathering of like minded friends, or a political assembly. A gilded screen enhanced the ambient light in a room, and at the same time, impressed, or even humbled visitors as it reflected the wealth or status of the patron.

Crows in Early Winter (detail), Kishi Chikudō, Japanese, 1826-1897. Ink and color on gold ground; pair of six-panel folding screens. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree, Priscilla Giesen, and special funds.

Crows in Early Winter (detail), Kishi Chikudō, Japanese, 1826-1897. Ink and color on gold ground; pair of six-panel folding screens. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree, Priscilla Giesen, and special funds.

This exhibition examines the aesthetics of Japanese art within both private and public interiors by showcasing nine folding screens, two scroll paintings, and examples of lacquerware selected from the permanent collection, supplemented by two local loans. Paths of Gold features screens dating from the 16th through the 19th centuries, at the end of which Japan opened to European and American trade.

Among the treasures in the exhibition is a lavishly decorated 17th-century set of three handscrolls, attributed to Tosa Mitsuoki (1617–1691). Painted with exquisite mineral pigments and gold, The Tale of Bunshō narrates a story about the rise of the merchant class and the struggles of women. On display as well are a hanging scroll and screen paintings from the Meiji era (1868–1912), a time when formats and subjects were introduced for the newly-conceived public exhibition hall. Also on display are examples of lacquerware from the collection, decorated with various gold techniques, adding to the multi-faceted painterly splendor in the Japanese interior.

This exhibition is co-curated by Hollis Goodall, Curator of Japanese Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and Susan Tai, Elizabeth Atkins Curator of Asian Art at SBMA. It is on view November 10, 2018 – February 10, 2019. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is located at 1130 State St. in downtown Santa Barbara. It is open Tuesday – Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with Free Thursday Evenings from 5 – 8 p.m. For more information, call 805/963-4364, or visit www.sbma.net.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 9, 2018.

Happy Haunting in Downtown Santa Barbara

Skeleton Window at Lovebird, courtesy photo.

Skeleton Window at Lovebird, courtesy photo.

It’s a Happy Halloween season downtown this week!

The Halloween Window Décor Contest has Downtown Santa Barbara judges hitting the street to critique the spooky Halloween windows, and you can judge for yourself until October 31.

Be sure to keep an eye on Lovebird (535 State St.) – In celebration of Halloween they have replaced their mannequins with skeletons. Each day, they’ll dress the skeletons in new outfits and create a scene involving and promoting a local Downtown Santa Barbara business.

“This idea appealed to us because we want to support downtown and do what we can to help revitalize State Street while having a good time,” says owner Jennifer Scarbrough. “We’ll keep it up through November 3rd – Day of the Dead!” 

 Also in the mix is the annual Downtown Halloween Trick or Treat on Wednesday, October 31 from 3-6 p.m. for any and all kids in costumes. Bring your own treat bag and look for balloons and window signs for the Downtown businesses handing out treats.

For more information, follow @DowntownSantaBarbara on Instagram.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 27, 2018.

Pianos Jazz Up State Street

Pianos on State, photo by Art Fisher.

Pianos on State, photo by Art Fisher.

State Street’s got some rhythm in its soul this month with the annual Pianos on State interactive musical exhibit on display throughout October.

In its 9th year, the exhibition will extend from October 2-24,  and feature pianos painted by Santa Barbara-based artists—all of which are available for community exploration, impromptu play and group performances.

This year’s panel received a record number of submissions, according to organizers from Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture. The selected artists include Aviel Hyman, Mahina Martinson, Ariana Meyers, Jack Mohr, Amanda Phillips, Melody Rose, Sheryl Schroeder, Lanny Sherwin and Richard Stokes. Additional community partners working with local students and artists to design pianos include Art From Scrap, the Santa Barbara Public Library Central Branch, The Arts Fund and Youth Interactive.

Pianos on State, photo by Art Fisher.

Pianos on State, photo by Art Fisher.

Helmed by the Santa Barbara Bowl, this program represents a unique collaboration that aims to provide arts exposure for residents and visitors of all ages. “The pianos are a beloved tradition that enhances the cultural vibrancy of Santa Barbara and the downtown corridor. It is a way to engage the community by inviting participants of all ages and backgrounds to experience performing arts in a public space,” says Kai Tepper, Santa Barbara Bowl Education Outreach Program Manager. Additional producing partners include the City of Santa Barbara, Office of Arts and Culture, The Arts Fund, Santa Barbara Arts Collaborative, Downtown Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation and New Noise SB. Many local sponsors and businesses also help sponsor and underwrite costs.

Isaac Hernandez. Untitled. Acrylic paint on piano. Exhibited outside the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. November 7, 2010. ©2010 Isaac Hernandez/IsaacArt.com.

Isaac Hernandez. Untitled. Acrylic paint on piano. Exhibited outside the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. November 7, 2010. ©2010 Isaac Hernandez/IsaacArt.com.

An opening celebration takes place on 1st Thursday, October 4, from 5-8 p.m. as artists traverse the pianos and the Piano Boys perform at the Library’s piano at the intersection of State and Anapamu Streets.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 3, 2018.

Wild Up at SBMA: GRADIENT

The modern music collective wild Upan adventurous chamber orchestra committed to creating visceral, thought-provoking happenings—comes to Santa Barbara Museum of Art on September 27 with a program inspired by Nam June Paik’s TV Clock. Featuring  Violinist Andrew McIntosh, the performance is  about space, light, and the passing of time.

Nam June Paik, TV Clock, 1963/1989. Twenty-four fixed-image color television monitors mounted on 24 pedestals. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by the Grace Jones Richardson Trust, Lillian and Jon B. Lovelace, Leatrice and Eli Luria and the Luria Foundation, Zora and Les Charles and the Cheeryble Foundation, Wendy and Elliot Friedman, and Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree.

Nam June Paik, TV Clock, 1963/1989. Twenty-four fixed-image color television monitors mounted on 24 pedestals. SBMA, Museum purchase with funds provided by the Grace Jones Richardson Trust, Lillian and Jon B. Lovelace, Leatrice and Eli Luria and the Luria Foundation, Zora and Les Charles and the Cheeryble Foundation, Wendy and Elliot Friedman, and Lord and Lady Ridley-Tree.

Situated in front of Paik’s work, four wild Up violinists perform elegant and visceral works by Anahita Abbasi, John Cage, Tashi Wada, and Steve Reich. The event is free, but reservations are required as seating is limited.

wild Up has been called “Best in Classical Music 2015” and “…a raucous, grungy, irresistibly exuberant…fun-loving, exceptionally virtuosic family” by Zachary Woolfe of The New York Times, “Searing. Penetrating. And thrilling” by Fred Child of Performance Today and “Magnificent” by Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times. Over the last eight years, wild Up has collaborated with orchestras, rock bands and cultural institutions around the world.

The performance takes place on Thursday, September 27, from 6 – 7 p.m. at Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State St., Santa Barbara. It is free but please reserve tickets at the Museum Visitor Services desk, or online at tickets.sbma.net.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on September 25, 2018.

Local Lowdown: Bibi Ji

Collin Dewell, courtesy Bibi Ji.

Collin Dewell, courtesy Bibi Ji.

The new restaurant from James Beard Award-winning sommelier and winemaker Rajat Parr and acclaimed Chef Jessi Singh (of the popular Babu Ji restaurants in San Francisco, Manhattan and Melbourne), Bibi Ji, takes its name from an Indian term of endearment for women in the family, and pays tribute to the formative women in both Singh and Parr’s lives who cultivated their love for food and hospitality.

This innovative take on Indian food paired with locally made wines and locally sourced seafood with Australian influences all adds up to what is easily one of the most exciting new restaurants to hit downtown Santa Barbara in a long time!

Collin Dewell, courtesy Bibi Ji.

Collin Dewell, courtesy Bibi Ji.

Drawing from his Australian and Indian roots, Chef Singh (who now lives in Santa Barbara) has created a menu featuring his self-proclaimed “unauthentic take” on many traditional American seafood dishes, with a strong focus on using local Santa Barbara purveyors. Currently on the menu are SB UNI biryani, made with local sea urchin and fried rice; local oysters with green mango pickle butter; delicious Hope Ranch black mussels in a curry broth; and melt-in-your-mouth Aussie lamb chops with mint and dill raita and apricot chutney; as well as a zesty array of “unauthentic curries.”

Collin Dewell, courtesy Bibi Ji.

Collin Dewell, courtesy Bibi Ji.

The Chef’s Tasting Menu—offering a variety of favorite appetizers, curries, naan, rice and dessert for $50 per person—is an excellent way to savor a variety of these exciting flavors.

Bibi Ji, 734 State St., bibijisb.com, 805/560-6845.

Leslie Dinaberg

This story was originally published in the summer 2018 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Brian Culbertson

Brian Culbertson, courtesy photo.

Brian Culbertson, courtesy photo.

Brian Culbertson brings his Colors of Love Tour to the Lobero Theatre on Wednesday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m.

With love, romance and his recent 20th wedding anniversary serving as his inspiration, Jazz and R & B Pianist Culbertson crafted 13 new songs that were released as Colors of Love on Valentine’s Day. The seduction begins with the first single, the amorous title track, which is a sensual R&B groove illuminated by lyrical acoustic piano melodies typical of the collection’s contents.

A nearly three-month-long U.S. concert tour will bring “Colors of Love” to life in a vivid theatrical production, incorporating video elements in a major way.

The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit lobero.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 27, 2018.

Local Dish: Smithy Kitchen + Bar

The outdoor patio at Kitchen + Bar is a beautiful place to dine, day or night. Photo courtesy Smithy.

The outdoor patio at Kitchen + Bar is a beautiful place to dine, day or night. Photo courtesy Smithy.

There’s nothing better than good food in a beautiful setting, and the new Smithy Kitchen + Bar (7 E. Anapamu St.) has both! I’ve dined on the lovely outdoor patio—under its gorgeous canopy of 100-year-old olive trees—twice in the last few weeks—once on a cold night and once on a warmish one—and the well-placed heaters make it a comfortable and cozy spot to be in almost any weather.

Designer Steve Hermann has redone the former Somerset space in an upscale yet approachable style, with a more “Santa Barbara” vibe and every day price point. Originally a blacksmith shop, hence the name “Smithy,” this prime downtown location (near the Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Public Library and Sullivan Goss Gallery) is now a great spot for lunch, dinner with friends and family, nighttime drinks and bites or a leisurely Sunday brunch. There’s also a special Easter Brunch menu, if you’re eager to check it out this weekend.

Smithy's "Baby I'm a Star" cocktail and roasted sunchokes with chanterelles, brown butter hazelnuts and butternut squash puree, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Smithy’s “Baby I’m a Star” cocktail and roasted sunchokes with chanterelles, brown butter hazelnuts and butternut squash puree, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Chef Lauren Herman’s new menu is delicious, and nothing is over $20. We loved the mussels and clams with shallot, garlic, crispy pork belly, and bok choy served with grilled toast. The sauce was so savory we asked for extra toast (homemade) to lap up every last bite. The pastas were also terrific. Try the Cavatelli combined with pork ragu, mustard greens and tomato confit for a hearty dish. The squid ink casarecce in lobster bisque with uni and nori breadcrumbs was also fabulous.

The vegetables really shine as well. We loved the fried delicata squash with cauliflower, bagna cauda, calabrian chili and anchovy aïoli, as well the roasted rainbow carrots with spiced cashew butter, coconut yogurt and carrot top pistou. I also enjoyed the sunchokes, roasted with chanterelles, brown butter hazelnuts and butternut squash puree. Overall, everything was tasty and ideal for sharing.

Smithy's Polenta Dumplings and Mushroom Flatbread. Photo by Kay Cheon, courtesy Smithy.

Smithy’s Polenta Dumplings and Mushroom Flatbread. Photo by Kay Cheon, courtesy Smithy.

Partners in life and in the kitchen, Lauren Herman’s wife, Christina Olufson, is a terrific pastry chef.  The flourless chocolate cake with crushed honeycomb was amazing, as was the butterscotch pumpkin cake. Our friends at a nearby table also raved about the brioche doughnuts, so those are definitely on my list to try next time. 

The cocktails are also worth noting, with creative names like “Ortega Undead II: The Resurrection”  (tequila blanco, lime , thai chile, wild elderflower, falernum and chili-salt rim), “From Tokyo to Mars” (iwai japanese whiskey and bittered grapefruit cordial) and “Baby I’m a Star” (pear and fennel, vodka, fino sherry, absinthe, lemon and peychauds bitters) that are just as delicious as they are irresistible for wordsmiths.

One of several communal dining tables at Smithy Kitchen + Bar, courtesy photo.

One of several communal dining tables at Smithy Kitchen + Bar, courtesy photo.

While I loved the aesthetic of Somerset, Smithy is definitely a more welcoming space, not to mention significantly less expensive. The building’s original exposed brick walls with white weathered board and batten walls, rustic reclaimed table tops, and original school house chairs create a beautiful restaurant that is both airy and open, yet still feels intimate. As is becoming a trend, there are three separate communal tables and bar seating, as well as an additional 130 seats located inside and out, offering a myriad of dining possibilities. The nights I was there, there were large groups of people (both young and less young), lots of couples and smaller groups, as well as some solo diners.

Smithy's Kale Salad. Photo by Kay Cheon, courtesy Smithy.

Smithy’s Kale Salad. Photo by Kay Cheon, courtesy Smithy.

“We want Smithy to provide a dining oasis in the heart of Santa Barbara,” states owner and designer, Steve Hermann.  “We hope to become that bar/restaurant that feels like home for all of our guests’ dining and drinking needs, whether small or large.  Our food is delicious yet accessible, and our environment is welcoming and comfortable.  We’d like to create a new history with Smithy that matches the history of our iconic Santa Barbara location.”

Smithy is located in downtown Santa Barbara at 7 East Anapamu St.  Call 805/845-7112 or visit Open Table for reservations. The restaurant is open Monday through Friday for lunch from 11:30 – 2:30 p.m.; dinner from 5p.m. – close; and Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Happy hour runs daily from 4 – 6 p.m.

Leslie Dinaberg 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 29, 2018.

Interior shot, courtesy Smithy Kitchen + Bar.

Interior shot, courtesy Smithy Kitchen + Bar.

Bar interior shot, courtesy Smithy Kitchen + Bar.

Bar interior shot, courtesy Smithy Kitchen + Bar.

La Arcada Christmas Walk

La Arcada Christmas Walk, courtesy La Arcada.

La Arcada Christmas Walk, courtesy La Arcada.

Get ready to get in the mood for the holidays! The spirit of Christmas—both past and present—is alive and well at this favorite annual celebration taking place on Wednesday, November 29, from 5–8 p.m. The charming, historic holiday open house has all the trimmings of the season, including twinkling lights, costumed carolers, refreshments and the chance to tell Santa what a good boy or girl you’ve been this year (and even snap a photo if you’ve been really, really good!).

In its 23rd year, the La Arcada Christmas Walk is a festive way to start the holiday season, and spend time with the whole family in a beautiful setting wandering down the enchanting, tree filled courtyard as it is transformed into a winter wonderland.  Hungry? Andersen’s, Viva, Jeannine’s, La Arcada Bistro, Petit Valentien and State & Fig will all be open for dining that evening.

Waterhouse Gallery, La Arcada, courtesy photo.

Waterhouse Gallery, La Arcada, courtesy photo.

Photos with Santa are FREE, as are fresh popped popcorn, treats in shops and the chance to sing-a-long to familiar holiday tunes.

Retail stores and specialty shops including Socorro, Renaissance, Ace Rivington, Lewis & Clarke, LaTavola Fine Linen, August Ridge Vineyards, The Barber Shop, Bread & Butter, Chocolats du CaliBressan, Coast 2 Coast Collection, Peanuts Maternity & Gifts, Sanford Winery and Urban Optics will extend their hours for this very special evening.  Art enthusiasts will enjoy visiting Gallery 113, Santa Barbara Arts, Waterhouse Gallery and the historically significant permanent collection of interactive sculptures throughout the Historic La Arcada Courtyard.

La Arcada is located at 1114 State St. between Figueroa and Anapamu streets.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 20, 2017.