One day in December each year on the City Pier at the Santa Barbara Harbor, Santa’s Village comes alive with ten tons of snow and Christmas music to get everyone into the holiday spirit. Children can play in the snow right on a pier as boats float by on either side. Santa’s helpers will be milling around to help entertain the kids, and parents can shop or dine at fine restaurants at the harbor.
Santa himself makes an appearance which attracts hundreds of families who want a picture taken with Old St. Nick. Bring your camera to take a free family photo! The first 300 children in line get a goody bag. If you arrive at the harbor and see a long line at the base of the City Pier, next to Brophy Bros. restaurant, that is the line to greet Santa. You don't have to get in that line to play in the snow on the pier. Just head right to over to the white stuff and start building a snowman or tossing snowballs!
Santa's Village starts at 3pm. At 5pm the same day, Santa's Village is followed by a tree-lighting ceremony that is held on the shoreward finger of Stearns Wharf next to the Sea Center. Then, at 5:30pm, dozens of illuminated boats form the annual Parade of Lights. Judging takes place at Stearns Wharf and boats are awarded donated cash and prizes in multiple categories. The boat parade is capped off by a brief fireworks show. Best viewing locations for the boat parade and fireworks show include Stearns Wharf, the breakwater, and East Beach.