Famed French Fest to Can-Can Again

The Santa Barbara party skipped 2011, but it is back with le joy this year.

SALUT, SANTA BARBARA: A poodle in sunglasses and a beret? It's an image that famously belong to one long-time California happening, and with good reason: A poodle parade is at its heart. If you celebrate Bastille Day, and you live or near the Central Coast, chances are good you've enjoyed the Santa Barbara French Festival at some point. After all, the Oak Park-based party has been around for nearly a quarter century, and though it took off 2011, it is certainly a mainstay on the city's festival calendar. Yep, the poodles are a major part of that, and the foodstuffs like crepes, crusty breads, and coffee drinks ending in "au lait," but the general convivial atmosphere is one of the big draws. Oh, and it lasts two days, too, which is a bonus. And this year those days are Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15.

2012 HIGHLIGHTS: There are several performances set to go down on the Eiffel Tower and Moulin Rouge stages throughout the weekend. "Accordion-infused jazz" from Ketchup Soup, French tunes from Ajjani Knight, and the Femme Fatales Drag Revue are just three of the acts. 

AND ABOUT THE PUPS... The Poodle Parade rounds out the weekend on Sunday afternoon. Oui, the participating poodles are at their trimmed and chicest best, and, oui, some are in festive costumes or collars. And is every participant *strictly* a poodle? Nope; a Great Dane showed up one year, dressed as a Poodle. Very clever, Great Dane. Very clever indeed.

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