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HEALTH MINDED  .   .   .

44th Annual Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration Honors Heroes              

Story & Photos by Bonnie Carroll

An estimated 75,000 spectators crowded State Street for the 2018 Summer Solstice Parade, which offered kudos to those who provided assistance during the Santa Barbara twin disasters in January. The Solstice committee selected “Heroes” as the theme to honor those who were so instrumental during and after last winter’s devastating Thomas Fire and the Montecito flash flooding and debris flows. The annual three day event featured a parade down State Street, along with music, food and games at Alameda Park, where parade floats were on display through Sunday afternoon.
Seats saved for 2 miles and floats ready to go!

It was a cloudy Saturday morning as participants arrived to construct floats, make final design touches and apply face paints to match their amazing costumes. The Santa Barbara Summer Solstice Celebration is the largest art event in Santa Barbara County, and has been a great favorite of locals since 1974 when it began as a birthday celebration for local artist and mime Michael Gonzales. The nonprofit celebration continues to attract thousands of visitors each year, continuing the memory of Gonzales' through the multicultural performing arts gathering.
Mayor Cathy Murillo & Designer Lisa Thomas

Mayor Cathy Murillo and 1st District Supervisor Das Williams were among the “Pass the Hat” float participants along with dancers, and volunteers collecting money to benefit the Summer Solstice Celebration. Mayor Murillo wore a crown of beautiful greenery and flowers designed by Lisa Thomas, float and costume designer. The Mayor said she was aware the nonprofit had some financial difficulty this year but was happy everyone pulled together to make the 44th annual a reality.

I spoke with Brenda Mills, one of the stunning dancers in Egyptian blue feathers, who said she was enjoying so much being a part of the Summer Solstice Parade. The Egyptian float, seemed to me to depict the ancient Phoenix Rising from its own ashes, a reminder of what has happened in our own community this year. Leading the float was a huge dance troupe, along with writer Richard Adams of CASA dressed as an Egyptian Anubis, and a bevy of Egyptian garbed men and small children who were really something to behold as that sea of blue began to move down State street. The Brazilian dancers with talented musicians, including Mariano Silva, also had everyone moving to their sensational Samba scene.
Marino Silva & The Brazilian Troupe

Veronica Swarens, who portrayed Mary Todd Lincoln, was stunning in a period gown she said she bought online, and her counterpart President Lincoln looked amazing on the 'Historical Figures Riding Dinosaurs” big blue dinosaur. Maddy Haines, a dinosaur keeper from Santa Barbara Zoo brought one of the Zoo's exhibits to walk in the parade. “We are very happy to be a part of this wonderful community event and everyone seems to love our dinosaur,” said Ms. Haines.
Maddy Haines brings a friend from Santa Barbara Zoo

Nice to see Santa Barbara Police Department Officers Heather Clark and April Deblaw who were assisting participants at Cota and State getting set up for the parade. They said they were happy to be part of Solstice and appreciated being included to enjoy the community parade and help in any way they were needed. SBFD were giving little ones a look at the fire truck cab.
SBPD & SBFD Sharing the Solstice Fun

Each year there is an artistic competition for the Solstice T-shirt and Poster design that is sold as a fund raising vehicle, and the 2018 poster and T-shirt design award went to Victor Elsey. From dancers to dinosaur’s to people on stilts it was one more memorable event honoring the ocean of artistic people living in the Santa Barbara 'bubble,' and a tribute to their great love for their city by the sea, as well as their solid support of the recent fire and flood survivors and the brave people who stood tall to help them.

Congratulations to Robin Elander, Executive Director, and her loyal army of amazing community members who made this 44th celebration possible. Santa Barbara loves you and so do I! For information visit: www.solsticeparade.com.


2018 Blondes vs. Brunettes - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara, CA



Welcome to Blondes vs. Brunettes - RivALZ, where two teams of women divide to reflect rivalries such as East vs. West or City vs. Suburb to compete in a flag football game to inspire fundraising, awareness and action in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

2018 marks Santa Barbara's 5th Annual Blondes vs. Brunettes Season! Thanks to the hard work of our players and support from our local sponsors, in four seasons we have raised over $300,000 for the California Central Coast Chapter Alzheimer's Association - and we're just getting started!! 

Looking to get involved? We need dedicated players, but we also need practice squad, coaches and volunteers. Want to cheer from the crowd? Donate to one of our players and you can receive admission to the game. It’s time to pick a side! Together, we can tackle Alzheimer’s.

Day of food vendors: Shalhoob Meat Co., John's Hot Dog Express, Shrimp vs Chef, Kona Ice Shave Ice, and SB Woodfire Catering.

Day of drink vendors: Presenting Sponsor Draughtsmen Aleworks. Pressed Juicery and Sparrow Sparkling Caffeinated Water.

Tailgate: 11:30am. Kick Off: 2:00pm.


Date & Time:

July 21, 2018 Add to calendar


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First human trial to demonstrate the favorable vascular effects of mango consumption


A new study conducted at the University of California, Davis found that two cups of mangos a day had beneficial effects on systolic blood pressure among healthy postmenopausal women.  Mango consumption helped relax blood vessels in as little as two hours after intake. Additionally, some of the participants showed favorable changes in the production of breath methane, an indication of the potential influence on gut fermentation.


“This is the first study to demonstrate positive vascular effects of mango intake in humans,” said lead researcher Robert Hackman, with the UC Davis Department of Nutrition.  He presented the findings today at the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting, Nutrition 2018, in Boston.  “Our results build on previous animal and cell studies that point to the potential benefits of mangos to promote health.”


Mangos contain a mix of polyphenols, including mangiferin, quercetin, gallotannins, and gallic acid, that have been the focus of previous investigations exploring the potential health-protecting properties of mangos.  Li and colleagues believe the concentration of these bioactive compounds in mangos may be responsible for the favorable response.


Methodology and Results


In the study, 24 healthy postmenopausal women consumed 330 grams (2 cups) of mango daily for 14 days.  The honey mango (also referred to as Ataulfo) was chosen for the study due to the high concentration of polyphenols in this popular variety.


Following the 14 days of mango consumption, the study participants resumed their normal daily diet but eliminated mango intake for 13 days.  Measurements were taken during each visit, including heart rate and blood pressure, blood samples and breath samples, which are increasingly used in nutrition studies to evaluate gut health status.


At the start of the study, blood pressure was not significantly different between the study visits.  Yet once mango was consumed, systolic blood pressure was significantly lower two hours after mango intake compared to baseline values. Pulse pressure was also significantly reduced two hours after eating mango.


Systolic blood pressure (the upper number in blood pressure readings) indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.  Pulse pressure is the difference between systolic and diastolic (bottom number) in blood pressure readings.  Pulse pressure can be used as an indicator of heart health.


Breath levels of hydrogen and methane were measured, which reflect the amount of these gases that were produced due to microbial fermentation in the intestinal tract. Some study participants produced hydrogen, some produced methane, and others produced both gases or neither of them.  Six of the 24 participants produced methane, and of these six, three shown significant reduction after consuming mango, which is considered a favorable outcome for gut health.


The researchers conclude that mangos may be a heart-healthy fruit that may help play a role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.  Longer-term studies involving other population groups are warranted. 


The research was supported in part by funds from the National Mango Board and USDA.

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© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved