SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The holiday season has begun with a visit from Santa and hundreds of people attending the La Arcada Plaza Christmas walk Wednesday night.
The event is one of the first big gatherings of the holidays downtown.
Stores were open late, wine bars were busy and restaurants had filled tables as families walked through the area enjoying the numerous trees fully decorated for the holidays along with live entertainment.
The performers included carolers in warm clothing as if it were 30 degrees outside, but instead, it was a Santa Barbara autumn night with clear skies and temperatures about 59 degrees during the event.
Free popcorn was served from several locations.
Musicians around the event site included guitarist Rick Reeves and keyboardist Konrad Kono.
The line to get a picture with Santa Claus stretched back about a quarter of a block and it was filled with both adults and children anticipating the moment to see the jolly man of the season.
The La Arcada Plaza is located on Figueroa and State Streets and businesses there have held this event for 23 years.
It comes just two days before the 65th annual holiday parade downtown sponsored by Consumer Fire Products Inc. That takes place Friday at 6:30 p.m.