French Festival

Dogs are welcome and even celebrated at Santa Barbara’s annual French Festival, held Saturday and Sunday in Oak Park. A Canine Cavalcade is held daily with local pups parading wearing their most haute couture. Vive la France! 

Go around the world with just one visit to Santa Barbara this weekend, as three events have an international flair.

French Festival

July 14 marks the 1789 storming of the Bastille fortress by an angry Parisian mob, and is now celebrated in France as the start of “la revolution.” Santa Barbara also gets in the spirit with the annual French Festival, held in Oak Park on Saturday and Sunday, July 13 and 14.

You’ll be immersed in French culture and traditions. Choose from a mouth-watering array of crepes, croissants, quiches, and desserts. Sip wine while watching Can-Can dancers. Shop for handmade jewelry, kitchenware, clothing, and berets. Enter a raffle, play Mille Bornes, or learn Petanque (“pay-TONK,” similar to bocce).

Entertainment kicks off at 11 a.m. and is non-stop on three stages until 7 p.m. on both days. Enjoy 30 musical and dance ensembles large and small, (including tango instruction), plus a tribute to Django Reinhardt and a daily Femme Fatales Drag Revue. One stage is dedicated entirely to accordion music and features a lively dance floor.

Leashed dogs are welcome and can take part in a daily Canine Cavalcade. It started as a Poodle Parade, but is now open to all pups and departs from the Eiffel Tower at 6 p.m. Kids can meet the contestants, take part in a scavenger hunt, and get their faces painted. C’est magnifique! (www.frenchfestival.com)

Japanese Art

Japan’s famed Tokaido was a 320-mile road built in the 17th century to link the old imperial capital, Kyoto, with the “new” capital, Edo (modern Tokyo). Travelers were fed, lodged, and supplied at 53 official post towns along the way. By the 19th century, this scenic route was made famous by guidebooks, novels, and paintings.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s new exhibit “On the Road Again” features prints and paintings of the Tokaido, including woodblock prints by Utagawa Hiroshige, famed landscape ukiyo-e (floating world picture) artist. Also on view: a rare set of the Comic Picture Scroll of all 53 stations, painted in 1921 by eighteen manga artists. There’s much more – all evocative of a journey and of romantic places gone by. Half-price admission continues during the museum’s renovation. It’s only $5 for adults, and $3 for seniors, students, and kids aged 6 to 17. (805 963-4364, www.sbma.net)

Italian Music

The musical menu is all-Italian at Sunday’s concert at Trinity Church on Sunday, July 14, at 3:30 p.m. Soprano Adriana Ruiz, the only singer named as an 2018 Emerging Artist by Early Music America, performs with organist Dr. Thomas Joyce, Trinity’s minister of keyboard music. A $10 donation is suggested at the door.

The first half is a set of short songs from the Baroque era featuring Ms. Ruiz, which concludes with a cantata by Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677), one of the first women to have her music published in her own name. Organ music spanning four centuries of Italian music is featured in the second half. (1500 State Street, 805-965-7419, www.trinitysb.org)

Julia McHugh can be reached at southon101column@yahoo.com.

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