For 29 years, the I Madonnari Italian Street Painting Festival has been held in Santa Barbara on the Memorial Day weekend. The squares for the paintings are always set up on the plaza immediately in front of the Santa Barbara Mission, which is a beautiful place to visit anytime of the year. The festival is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. On Saturday morning, many of the artists begin work on their allotted spaces. By Monday afternoon, most of them are finished.
I do not know how many years we have been attending this event. We started when my son was young and his school participated by purchasing a square and decorating it. The festival seemed fairly established at that time but it could not have been in operation too many years.
Somewhere along the way, we stopped going. The crowds are intense and often it is sunny and hot. About eight years ago when we had digital cameras to take photos with, we started attending again. It has become a tradition. We always go early Friday to see the work on the squares begin, and return on Sunday morning to see some of the completed squares. With breakfast out on both days, of course.
Here are some of our photos from the event.
The following links show some other views and provide more information: