Last Sunday, Santa Barbara gave a shout of happiness. Within the course of an afternoon, I watched a parade walk blithely into the holidays, and I attended a festival which celebrated the softest, the shyest and the most beloved of animals.
Boyfrirend and I took the train up north. After suffering through the urban debris of Chatsworth and Simi Valley, the train swung towards the coast, and we were able to see the ocean's thumbprint on the sand, the birds running just beyond the sea froth. For the rest of thte way we traveled around the water, watching the Channel Islands emerge from the blue marine fog as the morning progressed.
We have a favorite cafe in Santa Barbara, where we always have breakfast. Instead of toast you get a basket of fragrant coffee cake, scones and pastries. So we reclined outside, watching the foot traffic on the sidewalk slow, as people started to gather on either side of the suddenly empty street.
Something was about to happen.
We saw a single police escort drive by. Then…after a pause, it started. A Children's Costume Parade. Bank after bank of strollers pushed and wagons pulled. Children – the majority couldn't have been older than five – appeared as pirates, princesses, devils, angels, dragons, dinosaurs. Strollers were veiled in spider webs. Wagons were stuffed with hay for tiny farmers. The Red Barons touched ground, holding onto a cardboard tri-plane. Two bee-keepers walked by, one holding the smallest of bees, fast asleep. I saw a wagon edged in turquoise waves with a pretty pearl inside, led by a glittering mermaid:
There were zombies, practicing their walk of the dead:
I saw a cowboy, bound for the North Forty:
A pirate stood at the stern of his ship, on the lookout for the King's navy:
There was a bunny who had escaped her warren to enjoy a bright afternoon's festivities:
But from where had that bunny come? Well, after watching the parade until the joy was too much to bear, we walked to the celebration, the epic sprawl, the magnificent frenzy…The Santa Barbara Bunny Festival.
Behold…bunny croquet: reel as Anastasia decides to lay down and graze instead of running the course! Bunny bowling: gasp as Zeus strikes down a pin with one pass of his mighty nose!
Shudder at the thought of bets lost, reputations ruined, fortunes destroyed!
Behold…bunnies on display! Proud owners walked amidst us lower un-bunned types, allowing us to meet their furry compatriots: Poptart, Emily, Piper!
Spy…on the decadent world of caged bunnies! Scheming:
disapproving, sleeping, eating! But don't step inside, lest you become another victim of the dreaded carrot hazing ritual!
Marvel…at the agility of Buster, as he takes stock of his surroundings, decides that a makeshift warren is no place for a handsome champagne-colored bun, and makes his escape! Shake your head at Buster's bad bunny luck as he lands in the lap of his owner, sleeping in a lawn chair close by.
The excitement. The swirl of activity. Boundless, bounding bunnies. It was all around.
Boyfriend and I visited every stand, watched every competition, observed every corner of the lagomorphic throng.
This BunFest was sponsored by the Santa Barbara chapter of B.U.N.S. (Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter). There were bunnies waiting for permanent homes; pretty, pale Cristin was one of them:
It was such a lovely day. I saw only smiles.
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