The Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta represent the charm and beauty of the culture of Old Spanish Days.
Santa Barbara has many local dance schools that instruct students in the multi-cultural dances of Spain, Mexico, and early California. Young performers dedicate countless hours preparing for this annual event and for an honor to represent Old Spanish Days as the “Spirit of Fiesta” and the “Junior Spirit of Fiesta.” The Spirit of Fiesta leads the annual parade in a traditional white dress and embodies the gaiety and vitality of Santa Barbara's annual summer festival. She has come to be the visual representation of Fiesta, a goodwill ambassador to local residents and visitors alike.
Sophia won the title of Spirit of Fiesta by competing among 10 other dancers. She has been participating in OSD Fiesta since the age of two and was chosen the 2013 Junior Spirit Runner Up. Sophia also had the opportunity to represent Santa Barbara as the 2017 Teen Dance Star. She is an AP Honors student at Santa Barbara High School where she is in ASB Leadership as well as Varsity Cheer. She feels working with students with special needs and mentoring young dancers is gratifying and motivates her to be her best self. She is honored to be chosen the 2019 Spirit of Fiesta and to serve as a positive role model for our youth and share the city's rich traditions with our community. Congratulations to Sophia!
Paloma was chosen among 9 other performers to represent our community as the 2019 Junior Spirit of Fiesta. Paloma started dancing at 2 1/2 years old and has loved it ever since. She is currently in 4th grade at Foothill Elementary. She enjoys math because it allows her to challenge and exercise her brain. She also enjoys art because she can be crative and use her imagination. Paloma spends time raising funds for the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation as well as being a personal buddy for peer buddies. Paloma is honored to be Junior Spirit of Fiesta and wishes to inspire kids to reach their goals and to not give up no matter what is in the way. Congratulations to Paloma!
photos by Fritz Olenberger