SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Getting the best spot for the popular summertime Concerts in the Park in Santa Barbara requires some strategy and maybe fast feet depending on where you want to drop your blanket at Chase Palm Park.
The event has been going on for 20 years.
On Thursday, the five-week program kicked off with one of the area's most popular bands: Area 51. About 2000 people attended.
The crowd, to get the best spots, was waiting at noon for an approval to enter the grassy spectator zone. When that word was given, they took off and threw towels, sheets, blankets, chairs and coolers down in their favorite spots.
Some left and came back for the evening show at 6 p.m. Some stayed all day.
Many who attend make an outing out of it with a picnic dinner, beverages. Dogs on leases are allowed as well.
An area is cordoned off for dancing. The rest of the park for viewing.
Kathleen Klauwitter said, "I got nervous my heart rate picked up. The guys next to me said it is really going to be a race. " She advised, " no pushing no shoving no tripping!"
Nearby Hope Madrigal said, "I ran and I said I hope I get a spot and look I did see it was meant to be for me I am here every year."
Ed Montanez had a blanket in his hand and a plan. " I lost some weight so I am a little quicker now. I get here early and make sure I am front in line and spread my elbows out and I got my blanket out like a torero and I just throw it out there and it lays out."
Upfront Melanie Ewing got her spot, "because I am a dancer and I want to be up front so I can see and dance."
One year, during the day when people were gone a wind event took place. Ewing said, "everybody's blankets were everywhere it was a big huge mess, people were literally looking for 30 minutes for their blankets !"
The Concerts in the Park Series will continue through mid-August. The only break will be Fiesta week.
A variety of music will be presented including pop, rock, blues, jazz and 80's.
The event is free is sponsored by local businesses to go along with a funding allocation from the Parks and Recreation department.
For more information go to: https://www.santabarbaraca.gov/gov/depts/parksrec/recreation/events/parkrec/concerts.asp