|Chapel Hill | Elephant Seals | Getty Museum | Los Alamos | Mussell Fort | Paddock Zoo | Parkfield | Reagan Library | Santa Barbara Fireworks | Santa Barbara Zoo | Rocket Twilight Launch | VAFB Air Show | Whale Watching | Wildflower Tour|
Each year, on the fourth of July, Santa Barbara puts on the "Sparkle" fireworks show down at the waterfront. The fireworks are shot from the beach (either East Beach or West Beach, it varies) in an extravagant half-hour show. I've gone down there twice (2001 and 2002) and have met people who have come long distances to see the show.
If you can make it, the trip is worthwhile. But, be prepared for crowds! Many other people also consider it worthwhile.
Sitting between East and West Beach is Sterns Wharf, a pier that juts out into the harbor. While many people find the beach to their liking for the fireworks I prefer the wharf. I'm not alone; this fellow waited with me for awhile.
One caveat about the wharf: many portions of it do not have any restraining rails. While there are a number of rescue rings to throw to people who might fall off the wharf you really don't want to test that system. Use caution when by the edge; unlike this fellow you probably can't fly.
|Plan on arriving early and staying late if you go to the fireworks show. There is plenty to do around the beach area including a walk/ride up State Street into Santa Barbara proper or a ride around the harbor on a harbor cruise boat. The latter will take you out to the marker bouys where you will likely see sea lions basking.|
But, as the day comes to an end and the sun sets...
...the fireworks show starts (usually around 9:15pm). I'll just give you parts of the show without further comment.
As you can see, the fireworks come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and designs. Note, particularly, the concentric circles expanding and hearts just above. The map below shows where on the beach the fireworks were.
While you are in Santa Barbara you might also want to visit the zoo or the Mission.
Added in 2004...
On a whim, instead of staying local I again went down to Santa Barbara for the show. Arriving around 4pm I was not able to find any convenient location close to the wharf or beach. While stopped for a bite to eat I was talking to a local who indicated that the Santa Barbara City College was a better place to see the show; plenty of convenient parking ($5 in 2004) and easier access before and after the show. One caveat: enter SBCC grounds off of Cliff Drive (route 225) instead of Shoreline Drive. The advice was sound. Parking was easy and the large grass viewing area overlooked the harbor. Since this is an all aerial show there is no problem if something at ground level might obscure your view of the shoreline itself. Knowing there will be a crowd, they even have portable bathrooms available. There was only one problem...in 2004 the show only lasted 15 minutes and was a mere shadow of its former self (not my opinion alone--all around me were muttering the same thing). Our local show last year was equally impressive, lasted longer, and did not require a long drive and lots of traffic to see. As a result, this will likely be the last time I take the time to see the Santa Barbara fireworks show.
Comments? Please use the contact
Copyright © 2002-2004 Tom Simondi, All Rights Reserved