Cleaved between the Pacific Ocean and the foothills of Santa Ynez Mountain, Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is among the oldest polo facilities in the U.S. The Club was established in 1911 and quickly became a focal point of competition and social interaction. In fact, by the 1920s, spending Sunday at the club had already become a celebrated social event. Visitors would don the latest fashions and picnic at the fields, some even hiring helpers to assist with the noonday meal and deliver jokes during intermission.
Although some conventions have changed, the club retains its reputation as an elegant destination to enjoy the “Sport of Kings.” It features a trio of world-renowned polo fields, plus eight tennis courts, a fitness center, and a pool for recreational use. The club still draws some of society’s most noble figures, too—Prince William and Catherine visited during 2011, a trip that saw Prince William compete in a charitable match.
With a history stretching back more than 40 years, Circus Vargas wows audiences with dazzling acrobatics and rib-tickling clowns under a giant big-top tent. The show eschews animal performers for human-costumed spectacles, showcasing dazzling feats that only a few dexterous humans and short-circuited cyborgs are capable of. The circus's big top, hand-fashioned in Milan from 90,000 square feet of fabric, holds up to 1,500 show-goers in classic, blue-dyed elegance. Early-arriving guests can take part in an interactive preshow, jumping in the ring with ringmaster Jon Weiss as he leads audience members through tutorials that show how to perform stunts such as juggling, feather balancing, and balancing checkbooks with quill pens.
Santa Barbara Revels, a nonprofit performing arts group, celebrates autumn and fundraises with Oktoberfest, a German festival replete with a complimentary buffet of bratwurst, sauerkraut, and potato salad. Toast the Biergarten Musikmeisters' cheerful tunes and sentient mustaches with included glasses of light and dark Brewhouse pilsner, or salute crisp apple strudel with a glass of wine. Door-prize tickets (not included with this Groupon) promise a shot at one of 12 fun packages, including one that enlists specialists to map family genealogy and prepare tax returns. During the live auction, bidders dressed in lederhosen and dirndls compete for luxurious getaways to Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, or a chance to win back their confiscated street clothes. Though not required to attend, a 10% discount on costume rentals from Victorian Vogue encourages Oktoberfest attendees to flesh out the festive scene with vintage regalia.
State Street Ballet's lithe dancers gracefully pirouette to classical masterpieces during performances modernized with special effects and digital technology. The season's first show, Starry Night, celebrates Vincent van Gogh's art in a multimedia performance that juxtaposes art, music, theater, dance, and text from the post-Impressionist's recovered Twitter feeds. Choreographed by celebrated dancesmith William Soleau, the ballet aims to mimic the flow of oil paint across a canvas through dancers’ movement as videos project a backdrop of collaged paintings and letters. The surfaces of the recently renovated Granada Theatre are also draped with art, from Moorish-inspired geometric patterns on the golden walls to decorative niches imbued with Old World grandeur.
Named for the famed German soprano, Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall pays homage to a wealth of musicians during its slate of concerts. Throughout the year, the USBC music venue welcomes gospel choirs and symphonies to its stage, as well as wind ensembles that double as the venue?s air conditioning system.
Fresh Fest 2012 treats hip-hop and electro fans to a night full of funky beats and throbbing lasers fit for all ages. Master mixers and mash-up maestros DJ Eon and DJ Flamezz keep strobe lights stoked and frisky feet dancing with a surplus of pulsating club beats. Grab some glow sticks at the door ($5, not included in today's Groupon) and dance to the laser lightshow before preventing sweat droughts with available water, pop, or energy drinks. Unlike most dance parties, no alcohol is allowed at Fresh Fest 2012, allowing crowds to have fun without the threat of an intervening Eliot Ness.