The Community Environmental Council (CEC) hosts its annual two-day Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival at Alameda Park Saturday, every April. The festival - which is free to attend - will be a space to gather community together, give thanks for our planet, and continue the healing process as we deal with the devastation brought on by the fire and flooding in our region. As with the oil spill crisis that led to the first Earth Day in 1970, it will also provide a space to inspire possibilities - with ideas for rebuilding, opportunities for increasing resiliency, and reinvigorated efforts to combat the root causes of climate change so we can mitigate the impact and intensity of future natural disasters.

CEC's Earth Day Festival is broken into zones, each created around a specific theme. In addition, there will be two full days of live music performances, speakers, one of the largest Green Car Shows on the West Coast, family programming, and the presentation of Environmental Hero Awards.

Festival Highlights

  • The annual Green Car Show - featuring the largest collection of efficient and alternative fueled vehicles in Southern California. Festival-goers can get a first-hand feel for the latest electric vehicles and hybrids by participating in the free Ride & Drive experience.
  • A Public Square that offers the opportunity to speak one-on-one with public officials and visit with a wide variety of local non-profits.
  • A free Bike Valet, with complimentary bike tune-ups and secure all-day parking.
  • A Homegrown Roots zone that connects attendees with local farmers, food and beverage artisans, and organizations working to promote sustainable food systems in the Central Coast.
  • Two full days of music on the Main Stage as well as music and speakers on two mini stages.
  • A Food Court with local, sustainable, and organic menus.
  • A Beer & Wine Garden, located in the middle of the festival near the Main Stage, with beer on tap and local wines.
  • A Kids Corner with arts & crafts, musical performances, storytelling, face painting, and eco-activities, along with a Family Passport that promotes kid-friendly activities throughout the park.
  • A Great Outdoors zone where attendees can take part in fitness activities and discover regional businesses advocating healthy, eco-friendly lifestyles.
  • A new Zero Waste zone where the public can participate in efforts to separate waste, compost, and recycling (and earn beer discounts in the process!).
  • Celebrity and public official appearances. Recent festivals have included stage appearances by actor/activist Jeff Bridges, sustainability pioneer Paul Hawken, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Congressman Salud Carbajal. Others who have been honored include activist and CNN host Van Jones, scientist and TV host Bill Nye, film director James Cameron, actress Daryl Hannah, ocean activist Marcus Erikson, and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk - all of whom were awarded the annual Environmental Hero Award.

Widely acknowledged as the birthplace of Earth Day, Santa Barbara's involvement began with the devastating 1969 oil spill off its coast. This led a local group of concerned citizens to begin discussing a different way of looking at environmental systems. During that time, Senator Gaylord Nelson visited Santa Barbara to view the oil spill damage. When he returned to Washington, D.C., he introduced a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the Earth. Over the next few years, the environmental movement was born across the country - including CEC. In the spring of 1970, CEC incorporated and, in its initial act as a new non-profit, hosted Santa Barbara Earth Day, one of the first celebrations of its kind in the country. They recognize that "every day is Earth day" and also that special events are a way to bring our community together as a reminder to tread lightly on the planet each and every day.

Come Car-Free to Earth Day

  • Walk - Earth Day's downtown location makes it easy to get to without a car.
  • Bike - Depending on which direction you come from, try linking up with the oceanfront bicycle paths along Shoreline Drive
  • Bus - Many MTD buses from all over the South Coast - including UCSB, Goleta and Carpinteria - stop at or near the festival location.
  • Electric Shuttle - Catch it every 15 minutes by the harbor on Cabrillo Blvd, or on State Street.
  • Coastal Express - This shuttle from Ventura to Santa Barbara costs only a few dollars each way.
  • Amtrak - Out-of-town visitors can take Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner train to Earth Day.

About Community Environmental Council

Since 1970, CEC has led the Santa Barbara region - and at times California and the nation - in creative solutions to some of the toughest environmental problems. CEC pioneers real life solutions in areas with the most impact on climate change. Their programs - including the annual Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival - provide pathways to clean vehicles, solar energy, resilient food systems, and reduction of single-use plastic. Find CEC on the web at and on and

Get Involved

  • Exhibit: Event registration for vendors
  • Perform: Submissions for performing on the Main Stage
  • Nominate: Community members are invited to nominate a deserving teacher, class, or student that they believe should be recognized for their efforts to create a more sustainable and healthy world.
  • Volunteer: Each year, 300 volunteers come out to help make Earth Day happen.