The County of Santa Barbara is located on the coast of California, 95 miles North of Los Angeles. The County attracts each year more than 7 million tourists, which equates almost 29 thousand visitors a day. Chic restaurants, elegant hotels, a breathtaking coastline, large beaches, and golden sunsets are surely the main reasons why people visit Santa Barbara. But also festivals contribute to attract tourist flows to the American Riviera. Here is a list of four festivals for movie lovers and food lovers.
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) takes place each year in January and lasts eleven consecutive days. During this festival, participants can watch international movies, as well as new releases, classic films, documentaries, and animated and live short films. The event hosts directors, producers, and writers. The most important part is the evening tribute to actors and filmmakers who walk down the red carpet, ready to give an interview or pictures. In the last decade, this festival has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States. Its main goal is to inspire and engage people through movies at local, national, and international level. The festival has a positive repercussion on Santa Barbara’s tourism industry, as it attracts more than 95,000 visitors each year. The 36th edition of the SBIFF will be held from March 31 to April 10, 2021.
Here is another event related to movies. This festival showcases surf film entertainment, highlighting the different storytelling techniques employed by filmmakers during pre- and post-film discussions. The event – as almost all other events in Santa Barbara – includes music, food, drinks, parties, and pop-up shops. The first edition of the festival took place in November 2019 and lasted for two days. It attracted thousands of movie and surf enthusiasts, who wanted to experience more about these two worlds. The surf culture of Santa Barbara plays a huge role internationally. The creation of a surf film festival is the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone: on one side, it attracts passionate surfers; on the other side, it appeals to film lovers. Film tourism is a great opportunity to generate enormous economic benefits for Santa Barbara as film-related visitors have a high purchasing power and the possibility to travel also in low seasonality.
The California Wine Festival focuses on local wines and culinary offerings. The festival is organized yearly in different locations of the West Coast, including Santa Barbara. There, the Wine Festival is organized in July and lasts for two days: the first day it is held in downtown, while the second one on the beachside. Participants can taste California’s finest famous wines and pair them with fine gourmet food from local chefs; all of these while listening to lively music. Moreover, during the event small and large local wineries and wine-vendors sell their products. The next edition of the festival will be organized from 16 to 17 July 2021.
Another culinary event is the three-day annual California Avocado Festival, which is considered the largest free festival of the South Coast. The event hosts more than 70 arts and crafts vendors, and a plethora of food booths focusing on avocado. The festival is organized each October in Carpinteria, a city located in the County of Santa Barbara, and 11 miles south of SB downtown. The event is entirely sustainable as one of its goals is to generate zero waste. In 2019, the festival attracted more than 80,000 visitors and the participating non-profits organizations generated over $100,000 that was invested to support the local community through different initiatives. The 34th edition of the California Avocado Festival will be held from 2 to 4 October 2020.