photo:Proclamación del Presidente 2016

Pre-Auditions for Old Spanish Days Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta 2020 Announced

Posted November 07, 2019

Pre-Auditions for Old Spanish Days Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta 2020 Announced

 

SANTA BARBARA, CA – November 5, 2019 – Organizers of the 96th Annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta have announced an open call to pre-audition for Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta 2020.  The pre-auditions will be held on Saturday, January 4, 2020.  Application forms, participant guidelines and other required materials can be found on the OSD website at www.sbfiesta.org.

 

The Pre-Audition is an “OPEN CALL” to any dancer interested in auditioning for Spirit or Junior Spirit of Fiesta 2020. Pre-Audition participants will be selected for the Audition Finals that will be held on April 18, 2020.


Requirements
Participants must be a resident of Santa Barbara County. Junior Spirit participants must be between 8 and 10 years of age at some point during the week of Fiesta, (Sunday, August 2 through Sunday, August 9, 2020). Spirit participants must be between 16 and 20 years of age at some point during the week of Fiesta, (Sunday, August 2 through Sunday, August 9, 2020). Birth certificate verification will be required.


Contact the Old Spanish Days office at 805-962-8101 or info@sbfiesta.org for more information. 

Old Spanish Days Announces 2020 Leadership Team for 96th Fiesta

Posted October 10, 2019

Old Spanish Days Announces 2020 Leadership Team for 96th Fiesta
El Presidente Erik Davis to lead historic organization

SANTA BARBARA, CA – October 10, 2019 – Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara is
pleased to announce the leadership team for Fiesta 2020. The elected team
includes the Executive Committee comprised of: El Presidente, Erik Davis; La
Primera Vice Presidente, Stephanie Petlow; El Segundo Vice Presidente, Alex
Castellanos; El Secretario, David Bolton; and La Tesorera, Maria Cabrera. The
elected Division Chiefs include: Division Chief of Celebrations Michelle Bischoff;
Division Chief of Dance & Entertainment Andrea Caplan; Division Chief of External
Relations Angelique Davis; Division Chief of Marketplaces Angela Miller-Bevan;
and Division Chief of Pageantry Brian Schwabecher.



"I love how our entire community embraces the true spirit of Fiesta when we
come together to celebrate our community and it’s long-held traditions,'' said El
Presidente Erik Davis. “On behalf of the leadership team and the entire dedicated
board of directors, we can’t wait to put on another spectacular Fiesta!”

Now in its 96 th year, Fiesta is unique among festivals in that it is run by a volunteer
Board of Directors and supported by only one full-time staff member. The Board
of Directors annually elects an El Presidente or La Presidenta who presides over
the Board, and serves as the general manager of the organization. The Primer Vice
Presidente is responsible for the operations of the entire organization and the
Segundo Vice Presidente is responsible for raising the funds that allows the
historical festival to continue. The Division Chiefs oversee all of the volunteer
committees that support 19 official Old Spanish Days events and activities in 14
venues city-wide.

In 2020, Fiesta will take place in various locations around the city starting August
5 to August 9. First held in 1924, Fiesta celebrates a period of romance and
hospitality through pageantry, dance, music, costume and cuisine. Old Spanish
Days in Santa Barbara, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation dedicated to
honoring and preserving Santa Barbara’s history, spirit, culture, heritage and
traditions. Visit www.sbfiesta.org for more information.

La Presidenta’s Thank You

Posted August 05, 2019

I would like to sincerely thank all that participated in our 95th year and enjoyed Fiesta 2019. We had a wonderful year, with terrific events all summer long.

I started my year with a proclamation describing how Fiesta represents the “Spirit of Community.” As happens every year, thousands again participated in our events as volunteers, performers, equestrians and spectators. Our community came alive with volunteers working hard and celebrating with good food, songs and dance. It truly was a festival that celebrated the warmth, generosity, vivacity and sense of fun we as a community have to offer.

I would like to extend thanks on behalf of the Board of Old Spanish Days to all of our sponsors and partners. With your support and assistance Fiesta 2019 was a wonderful festival that brought joy to the community and helped so many of our local non-profits. With your help we have made a real difference in this community.

I would like to thank the Board of Directors of Old Spanish Days and staff members Kim Gutierrez and Maria Jimenez for again putting on the best of all of Santa Barbara’s festivals. I would also like to thank all of you who volunteered your time and your talents to help us celebrate our shared culture and traditions. This Fiesta was amazing!

On a personal note, this year was very special for me. I had the honor to share this year with so many wonderful people. I would like to thank Spirit of Fiesta Sophia Cordero and Junior Spirit Paloma Valenzuela, and their families. They were wonderful every single day, and I am grateful for the talent and passion they brought to every performance. I would like to thank St. Barbara Debra Fedaleo and the Native Daughters of the Golden West for their on-going support of Old Spanish Days. I want to thank my honorary Presidentes Tom and Denise Peterson and Riley and Dacia Harwood for their help and support this year, and for their support of all of our events. I would like to thank my life-long friends and my entire family for coming together to make this year so memorable. Each one of you have been genuine blessings!

Fiesta is truly a community event and 2019 was memorable every step of the way! 2020 will be our 96th year and I trust it will be equal or better than Fiesta 2019.  Fiesta again brought us all together and gave us the opportunity to celebrate our community tradition of mi casa es su casa.

Very truly yours,

Barbara Carroll
2019 La Presidenta

2019 Poster and Pin Unveiled

Posted May 30, 2019

The Fiesta pin depicts one of the most iconic images of Fiesta, the Fiesta dancers. “For the pin design I knew I wanted to use the dancing couple from many of our past Fiesta posters,” said Carroll. “It’s an image that is well-known in our community, and, in addition to the parade, it’s the other image that everyone recognizes and can connect with.” 
La Presidenta Carroll concluded “I hope both the poster and pin are images that resonate as quintessentially Fiesta and stir happy memories.” 
The original image for the Fiesta poster was created by La Presidenta Carroll’s lifelong friend, Victor Sigismondi, a local artist and graphic designer, OSD board member Debbie Oquist assisted with its completion, while Steve Lipman at Pincrafters assisted with the pin design.
 
Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, now in its 95th year, is dedicated to honoring and preserving Santa Barbara's rich history, spirit, culture, heritage, and traditions. Fiesta 2019 will be held July 31 - August 4. The next official event is Fiesta Ranchera which will be held on June 20, 2019 at Rancho la Patera & Stow House in Goleta. Additional information can be found online at www.sbfiesta.org .

Old Spanish Days Announces Honorary El Presidentes & La Presidentas

Posted May 21, 2019

Local, long-time community volunteers will be honored

Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara is pleased to announce that Dacia and Riley Harwood and Tom and Denise Peterson have been named honorary El Presidentes & La Presidentas for the 95th annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta. They will be in attendance at the La Primavera event on Saturday, May 25, 2019. Tickets available at online at sbfiest.org.

“My theme “Spirit of Community” was inspired by the way members of our community come together and selflessly donate their time and talents to make Fiesta happen each and every year”, said 2019 La Presidenta Barbara Carroll. “I wanted to honor the theme and so I chose people who have been involved behind the scenes in our community in a multitude of ways, and each of them has had an impact on making Fiesta successful,” she added.

Dacia Harwood was a founding committee member of Fiesta Ranchera, and continues to be a vital member of that event to this day. Riley Harwood has been on the front lines of Fiesta every year during his years on the police force. During his assignment with special events he was OSD’s liaison with the Police Department and helped strengthen the positive working relationship that exists today between OSD and the City.

Tom Peterson has a love of history and our community and he is extremely knowledgeable about the carriages in our parade, as well as all of the horses you see throughout Fiesta. Denise Peterson’s love of horses has brought her into the Fiesta family through the parade as well, which she has participated in many times.

Honorary El Presidente’s are chosen each year by the current La Presidenta or El Presidente and do not have any official duties. It’s an honor bestowed on them for their personal support to the current Presidente or their contributions to OSD.

Spirit of Fiesta Auditions mark the kick off of the 
2019 Old Spanish Days Fiesta Season

Posted March 26, 2019

SANTA BARBARA, CA – March 25, 2019 – The pageantry of Old Spanish Days Fiesta will be on full display April 13, 2019, at 12:00 p.m., when 21 talented young dancers step on the stage at the La Cumbre Junior High School Auditorium to perform at the Spirit and Jr. Spirit of Fiesta Live Auditions!  This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Spirit of Fiesta. Don’t miss one of Santa Barbara’s best live performance events.

Tickets for this special event are available online and are on sale now at www.sbfiesta.org and include entrance to the auditions and to the “Los Artistas” reception immediately following the auditions at the Carriage Museum. The public is invited to share in the excitement of the day and meet and talk with the newly selected Spirits and audition participants.

The Spirit of Fiesta and Jr. Spirit represent the charm, grace, and beauty of Old Spanish Days Fiesta. They will attend and perform at numerous events during Fiesta.  

Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation dedicated to honoring and preserving Santa Barbara’s history, spirit, culture, heritage and traditions.  

NOTE:  Seats will be arranged for photographers at the auditorium, RSVP is required. Please email, pr@sbfiesta.org to reserve your spot. Interviews and photographs with the 2019 Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta, and La Presidente can be arranged and scheduled following the event and at Los Artistas.

Additional information and tickets are now available.  

Old Spanish Days Announces 2019 Fiesta Theme

Posted February 21, 2019

“Spirit of Community” will be central theme for 95th annual Fiesta  

SANTA BARBARA, CA – February 21, 2019 – Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara announced today that the official theme for the 95th annual Old Spanish Days Fiesta will be “Spirit of Community.”  

Each year, the Presidente of Fiesta chooses a theme that will set the tone for the coming year.  La Presidenta Barbara Carroll, who has been a Fiesta volunteer since 1986 and has served on the board of directors since 2006, was inspired by the way the Santa Barbara community comes together to appreciate our shared history and culture and participate in the annual celebration. 

“My theme reflects the spirit of the people who volunteer their time, talent and energy to make Fiesta possible each year,” said La Presidenta Barbara Carroll.   “Every year thousands of us come together to participate in the annual Fiesta celebration by organizing and volunteering, or simply by enjoying the festivities. Fiesta brings us all together and truly manifests the spirit of our community,” she added.

Now in its 95th year, Fiesta is unique among festivals in that it is run by a volunteer Board of Directors and supported by only one full-time staff member. The Board of Directors annually elects an El Presidente or La Presidenta who presides over the Board and serves as the general manager of the organization. The Primer Vice Presidente is responsible for the operations of the entire organization and the Segundo Vice Presidente is responsible for raising the funds that allows the historic festival to continue.  The Division Chiefs oversee all of the volunteer committees that support 19 official Old Spanish Days events and activities in 14 venues city-wide. Fiesta 2019 will be held July 31 - August 4. 

 

Upcoming events include:

Spirit of Fiesta Auditions - April 13, 2019

La Primavera - May 25, 2019

Fiesta Ranchera - June 20, 2019

Fiesta Costume Sale - July 13, 2019

Recepción del Presidente - July 28, 2019

La Fiesta Pequeña - July 31, 2019

Mercado de la Guerra and Mercado del Norte  - July 31 - August 3, 2019 

La Misa del Presidente - August 1, 2019

Digs (Celebración de los Dignatarios) - August 1, 2019

Noches de Ronda - August 1 - August 3, 2019 

El Desfile Histórico (Parade) - August 2, 2019

Flor y Canto - August 2, 2019

Tardes de Ronda - August 3, 2019

Children's Parade - August 3, 2019

Old Spanish Days Announces 2019 Leadership Team for 95th Fiesta

Posted October 19, 2018

Old Spanish Days Announces 2019 Leadership Team for 95th Fiesta. La Presidenta Barbara Carroll to lead historic organization

SANTA BARBARA, CA – October 18, 2018 – Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara is pleased to announce the leadership team for Fiesta 2019.  The elected team includes: La Presidenta Barbara Carroll; El Primer Vice Presidente Erik Davis; La Segunda Vice Presidenta Stephanie Petlow; El Secretario David Bolton; El Teserero Alex Castellanos; Division Chief of Celebrations Michelle Bischoff; Division Chief of Dance & Entertainment Andrea Caplan; Division Chief of External Relations Angelique Davis; Division Chief of Marketplaces Angela Miller-Bevan; and Division Chief of Pageantry Will Powers. 

“I’m truly honored to represent Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara,” said La Presidenta Barbara Carroll, “I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, and Fiesta has been a huge part of my life since I was a small child. Some of my earliest memories are of the Fiesta parade.” “I love helping put on Fiesta every year for the community, and I have enjoyed participating ever since I was a Flower Girl.” 

Now in its 95thyear, Fiesta is unique among festivals in that it is run by a volunteer Board of Directors and supported by only one full-time staff member. The Board of Directors annually elects an El Presidente or La Presidenta who presides over the Board and serves as the general manager of the organization. The Primer Vice Presidente is responsible for the operations of the entire organization and the Segundo Vice Presidente is responsible for raising the funds that allow the historical festival to continue.  The Division Chiefs oversee all of the volunteer committees that support 19 official Old Spanish Days events and activities in 14 venues city-wide.

In 2019 the event will take place in various locations around the city starting July 31st through August 4th. First held in 1924, Fiesta celebrates a period of romance and hospitality through pageantry, dance, music, costume, and cuisine.   

Photo caption: Front row: Will Powers, Erik Davis, David Bolton, Alex Castellanos. Back row: Andrea Caplan, Stephanie Petlow, Barbara Carroll, Angelique Davis, Michelle Bischoff. Not pictured, Angela Miller-Bevan. 

Press Contact:

Angelique Davis
Division Chief, External Relations
pr@oldspanishdays-fiesta.org

Thanks for a Great Fiesta 2018!

Posted August 15, 2018

I want to thank the Santa Barbara community, sponsors, collaborative partners, City and County of Santa Barbara and Old Mission Santa Barbara for participating and supporting our successful 94th year of celebrating our tradition of Old Spanish Days Fiesta.  

In coming together to celebrate our traditions we’ve strengthened our community and paid tribute to the history of our beautiful city. I wanted our community to “Celebrate Traditions” of their families and heritage this year; and for our city’s visitors to truly see what Fiesta represents.  Traditions are the very foundation by which individuals and families construct their identities, thus creating the bonds of community.   

Watching our community come together to celebrate our traditions and share them with our visitors was heartwarming.  I was touched by every single person who expressed, “This is what we needed.”  My family, friends and I truly enjoyed every moment of this journey.  Special things happened this year and I will forever be grateful.  I hope each of you felt special moments during your celebrations as well.

It was my honor and privilege to serve and lead Old Spanish Days as La Presidenta this 94th year.  I will forever be grateful and humbled by the experience.  Thank you for joining me and my family in this journey as we celebrated time-honored traditions and started new traditions to pass down to our community and families.

All of us at Old Spanish Days look forward to celebrating traditions for years to come.  

¡Viva la Fiesta!

Celebrate Traditions -  ¡Celebre nuestras Tradiciones!

Denise Sanford

La Presidenta 2018

2018 OSD Fiesta Poster and Commemorative Pin Unveiled at La Primavera

Posted May 21, 2018

 During a spectacular Fiesta kick off event, 2018 La Presidenta Denise Sanford unveiled this year’s official Fiesta Poster and Commemorative Pin before a large crowd at La Primavera.

The Poster and Pin, featuring a magnificent work La Bamba by Mexican painter Jesús Helguera (May 28, 1910 – December 5, 1971), will be distributed to countless community members and tourists as a keepsake of Fiesta 2018. Helguera’s images are as well known in Mexico as Norman Rockwell’s are in America.

“I first saw the image I selected for my poster in 2008,” said La Presidenta Sanford.  “I was immediately drawn to it because it looked happy, and was very traditional to me.  I thought if I ever became La Presidenta I would want that as my poster. “

In terms of the Fiesta Pin, La Presidenta Sanford added: “For the Pin design I knew I wanted to use the courthouse as that building has always been a favorite of mine since coming to Santa Barbara.  Since being on the board and particularly when I was Division Chief of Dance and Entertainment, seeing all the dancers of all ages dancing on the Courthouse Sunken Garden stage I knew it would be special.  I also knew I wanted dancers as it would all come together.  I love when things are consistent so what better way to bring consistency than to have the image of the dancers from the poster on the PIN. “

The original image for the Fiesta Poster was found at Sullivan-Goss, and OSD board member Debbie Oquist assisted with the design, while Steve Lipman at Pincrafters assisted with the Pin design. 

The Pins and Posters are now available for purchase at the Old Spanish Days store. 

About the Image Artist:  Jesús Enrique Emilio de la Helguera Espinoza was born to Spanish economist Alvaro Garcia Helguera and Maria Espinoza Escarzaga on May 28, 1910 in Chihuahua, Mexico. He lived his childhood in Mexico City and later moved to Córdoba in the state of Veracruz. His family fled from the Mexican Revolution to Ciudad Real, Castilla la Nueva, Spain and thereafter moved to Madrid. Jesús first gained interest in the arts during primary school and would often be found wandering the halls of the Del Prado Museum. At the age of 14, he was admitted to the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes and later studied at the Academia de San Fernando. Helguera later married Julia Gonzalez Llanos, a native of Madrid, who modeled for many of his later paintings and with whom he raised two children. Jesús first worked as an illustrator at the Editorial Araluce working on books, magazines and comics with many of his published works done in gouache. He became a professor of visual arts at a Bilboa Art Institute at the age of 18 and worked for magazines such as Estampa. Helguera was forced to move back to the Mexican state of Veracruz due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and following economic crisis. Upon his arrival, mural making was en vogue and he was hired by Cigarrera la Moderna, a tobacco company, to produce calendar artwork printed by Imprenta Galas de Mexico. Much of his work reflected his own fascination with Aztec Mythology, Catholicism, pin-up girls and the diverse Mexican landscape. His paintings showed an idealized Mexico and it was his romantic approach that gave his paintings the heroic impact that eventually made him famous. In 1940, he created what is arguably the most famous amongst his paintings, La Leyenda de los Volcanes, which was inspired by the legend of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. It was later purchased by Ensenanza Objectiva, a producer of didactic images for schools. Many of his paintings would later be reproduced in a variety of different calendars and cigar boxes reaching households and businesses throughout Mexico.

2018 Spirit of Fiesta and Junior Spirit

Posted April 20, 2018

Jesalyn Contreras-McCollum Earns 2018 Spirit of Fiesta Title, Georgey Taupin Named 2018 Junior Spirit

A Santa Barbara tradition continued Saturday April 14th as a boisterous crowd of nearly 600 people packed the auditorium of La Cumbre Junior High School for the Spirit of Fiesta Auditions.

The crowd was treated to astounding performances by the 11 finalists for the Spirit of Fiesta and the 9 finalist for the Junior Spirit of Fiesta.

17-year-old Jesalyn Contreras-McCollum was crowned the 2018 Spirit of Fiesta and 10-year-old Georgey Taupin won the title of Junior Spirit of Fiesta.  The runners-up were Mia Lomeli and Lane Tatum Danhauer, respectively.

Both Contreras-McCollum and Taupin performed Flamenco dances as did almost all the other participants. Contreras-McCollum danced in Alegrias style to “Sobre el Arena” while Taupin performed in Alegrias style to “Que Bonito es Cai”.

"I'm excited and honored to represent this Fiesta and help celebrate traditions and our community," said Jesalyn. “I can’t wait for it to start.”

"I can’t believe it,” Georgey said. "I am so happy I get to participate in Fiesta with Jesalyn — she is such an amazing girl.”

Both of the winners represent local dance studios — Jesalyn the Linda Vega Dance Studio and Georgey the Zermeño Dance Academy.

The auditions were followed by Los Artistas, a reception at the Terrace Events Center at Pilgrim Terrace where all participants and audience members were invited to meet the new Spirit and Junior Spirit, as well as all participants and past Spirits.

The Spirit and Junior Spirit represent the charm and beauty of the culture of Old Spanish Days and they perform at many official Old Spanish Days events as well as at receptions held by area civic organizations.

Traditionally, the Spirit leads El Desfile Histórico while the Junior Spirit leads the Children's Parade. Most events take place the week of August 1 – 5.

The next event is the May 5 Spirit Luncheon followed by La Primavera on May 19.

Proclamación de la Presidenta 2018

Posted March 05, 2018

“Celebrate Traditions” “Celebra Nuestras Tradiciones”

In searching for the inspiration for this year’s theme I spent a lot of time contemplating the special connection that Old Spanish Days Fiesta has with our community. The mission of Old Spanish Days is to celebrate and perpetuate the rich history of our beautiful city and its traditions; which born from necessity grew into a way of life which makes Santa Barbara distinctively unique among all of California’s coastal cities.  

Tradition is defined as the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs from one generation to another. Traditions are the very foundation by which individuals and families construct their identities, thus creating the bonds of community. Tradition is a unifying force for as new people are introduced to a community’s traditions, these traditions are adopted, bridging differences and building pathways of understanding. 

Celebration is a powerful word which means to give thanks, pay tribute, keep, observe, and commemorate. To celebrate our community’s traditions is to honor its history. The celebratory history of our beautiful city dates back to its earliest days. In coming together to celebrate our traditions we strengthen our community and we pay tribute the history of our beautiful city.

More than ever our city and community needs strength for we have suffered immeasurable loss and tragedy this year. And whereas celebration is always difficult when we have lost so much in our community; we do so with reverent respect so we can remember and celebrate all we’ve lost and the strength we have shown as we rebuild.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta has become an integral part of our community for it touches the lives of countless Santa Barbarians and visitors from around the world each year. Fiesta is a framework by which the old begets the new; new traditions are born from celebrating the old traditions. Fiesta has become a source for sharing joy, happiness, and love of our community as we celebrate a 94-year-old tradition of honoring our past as we make the steady march into our future.

This spoke deeply to me for the celebration of our traditions has been the predominant source of joy and fulfillment that I’ve experienced through my service to Old Spanish Days Fiesta.  I see so many different personal and family traditions each year as I move from event to event.  I see people from all walks of life finding their favorite spot to witness Fiesta Pequena, Noches de Ronda, Tardes de Ronda, and the Competencia De Los Vaqueros. I see families who have been participating in the Children’s Parade for generations. There are those who make the cascarones, and the restaurants who provide the eggs, the non-profits that participate at the Mercados, and Our Lady of Guadalupe’s annual Fiesta event. There are countless individuals, families, and organizations which come together with a single purpose: celebrating traditions old and new.  These things are what Fiesta is really about.  These are the things that matter the most to those who, year after year, take time out of their busy lives to participate in Fiesta’s many events. 

Please come join us and help us Celebrate Traditions during this year’s Fiesta, I hope to see you all there!

Viva la Fiesta!
Denise Sanford
La Presidenta 2018

Old Spanish Days Announces 2018 Fiesta Theme

Posted February 21, 2018

La Presidenta Denise Sanford Makes It Official at SB Courthouse Sunken Garden

Surrounded by members of the extended Fiesta Family, 2018 Old Spanish Days La Presidenta Denise Sanford unveiled this year’s Fiesta theme – Celebrate Traditions – words that will set the tone for this summer’s celebrations.

“When I thought about selecting a theme for Fiesta I knew that I had to select something that wasn’t only unique and meaningful to Fiesta but to me,” said La Presidenta Sanford. “I felt if I selected something that was also as meaningful to me it would be easier for me to talk about it and make it genuine and special without having it sound forced. 

“Traditions have been a huge part of my life,” she added.  My parents were very traditional in everything we did as a family. How we celebrated holidays, birthdays, milestones and each other. I had always kept those traditions going and incorporated in my life and my children’s lives. 

The theme of Fiesta is a special moment for each Presidente as they select words that will be heard throughout the August Fiesta – one of the largest regional festivals in the country. Fiesta is also important economically to Santa Barbara, and the OSD board understands this important element especially this year with the local recent tragedies and economic effects felt community-wide.

“My hope for this year, and how it relates to my theme, is for our community to embrace our traditions, keep them close to our hearts in order to pass them down to the generations that follow us,” explained La Presidenta Sanford. “Keep alive what we are really doing for our community and Santa Barbara by celebrating who we are and where we came from. How and why Fiesta and its traditions were started!”

This year marks the 94th edition of Fiesta, and it runs from August 1-5, 2018.

“Traditions are what makes Fiesta what it is today,” La Presidenta Sanford added. “ Without traditions and how we honor and celebrate them we lose what it is we are trying to accomplish. Everyone has traditions in one form or another. Everyone celebrates their traditions. Everyone who comes out to celebrate Fiesta has a tradition.

Generations of families celebrating their traditions of community involvement, having parties and gatherings is what makes Fiesta what it is today.

----------------------------------------------

 Photo by Fritz Olenberger / Old Spanish Days.

Old Spanish Days Names 2018 Leadership Team for 94th Fiesta

Posted October 13, 2017

The organizing group for Santa Barbara’s weeklong Fiesta has named its leadership and executive team for the 94th edition of one of this country’s largest regional festivals. Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara has selected its Executive Committee, including the eighth Fiesta La Presidente to lead the organization, as well as five Division Chiefs who will oversee a variety of events from Celebrations to Pageantry and from Dance and Entertainment to Mercados and External Relations.

The 2018 Old Spanish Days Executive Committee will include La Presidente Denise Sanford, who joined the OSD Board in 2002, La Primera Vice Presidente Barbara Carroll, El Segundo Vice Presidente Erik Davis, La Secretaria Stephanie Petlow, and La Tesorera Angela Miller-Bevan.

“It is my honor to represent Old Spanish Days as the 2018 La Presidente,” said La Presidente Sanford.  “Fiesta provides our community an opportunity to celebrate traditions and the spirit of people coming together. Fiesta supports other non-profits in our community and provides the opportunity to help support their organizations.”

The 2018 OSD Fiesta Division Chiefs include Alex Castellanos (Celebrations), Michelle Bischoff (Dance & Entertainment), David Bolton (External Relations, Education & History), Jim Wilcox (Marketplaces), and Will Powers (Pageantry).

“I’ve been on the board since 2002 and I have had the opportunity of serving on many committees in many areas of the organization,” added Sanford.  “Having the opportunity to help the Santa Barbara community celebrate a long standing tradition of history, continuing and growing to get closer to our 100th Anniversary has been exciting and meaningful. Old Spanish Days is a working board made up of volunteers from all areas of the community.”

Santa Barbara’s Fiesta was first held in 1924. The 2018 edition will take place August 1-5.

For additional information, please contact the OSD office at 805.962.8101 or email info@oldspanishdays-fiesta.org.


OSD Fiesta 2018 Executive Team Photo Caption:
Back row (from left to right): La Secretaria Stephanie Petlow, La Primera Vice Presidente Barbara Carroll, 2018 Fiesta La Presidente Denise Sanford, El Segundo Vice Presidente Erik Davis, and La Tesorera Angela Miller-Bevan.
Front row (from left to right): Division Chiefs David Bolton (External Relations and Education), Alex Castellanos (Celebrations), Michelle Bischoff (Dance & Entertainment), and Will Powers (Pageantry). Not pictured Jim Wilcox (Marketplaces).
Photo courtesy of Fritz Olenberger


Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation dedicated to honoring and preserving Santa Barbara’s history, spirit, culture, heritage and traditions.  This 94-year-old organization produces an annual five-day festival -- Fiesta -- that is widely regarded as Santa Barbara’s premier festival.

¡Viva la Fiesta - Viva la Comunidad!

Posted October 13, 2017

A big thank you to our community for participating in a very successful Old Spanish Days Fiesta. To serve as La Presidente for our 93rd annual celebration was a truly humbling experience that I will never forget. 

I began this year honoring our beloved Father Virgil Cordano O.F.M. His signature reminder of “Unity through Community” served as our theme for this memorable year, but also as a call to all of us to celebrate and recognize our extraordinary community and the incredible unity that comes from this tradition.

Santa Barbara’s complex and rich history and our memorable celebrations are without a doubt part of what makes “Unity through Community!” Traditions that are passed from generation to generation, such as ours, is what makes Santa Barbara such a special place. I know my family and I enjoyed “a little of our inheritance from old California” this past Fiesta; I hope you and yours did as well.

It was a privilege to represent Old Spanish Days during the truly special and historical celebrations. Thank you again for the tremendous joy of serving as your La Presidente for 2017. All of us at Old Spanish Days look forward to celebrating these time-honored traditions again with you next year.

Viva la Fiesta – Viva la Comunidad,


Rhonda Ledson Henderson
La Presidente 2017

2017 Fiesta Poster and Pin Unveiled at La Primavera

Posted May 20, 2017

Much Kept Secret Highlights First Official OSD Fiesta Party of the Year

SANTA BARBARA – On a perfect spring evening and at a lively La Primavera celebration transformed into an “Evening in Spain”, this year’s Fiesta La Presidente Rhonda Ledson Henderson unveiled the 2017 Fiesta Poster and Pin before a throng of local dignitaries, community leaders and supporters of Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

To illustrate by this year’s Fiesta theme, Unity through Community, La Presidente Henderson chose an original artwork by Nicholas S. Firfires (1919-1990), “Gathering for Fiesta”, as the focal highlight of this year’s Fiesta Poster. Working with artistic director Jon Patrick Hyde, La Presidente Henderson spent months looking through local historical archives, museum collections and other sources to find the “inspirational” image for this year’s poster.

The historic painting ultimately chosen has been in private collection with John and Lauren Mullins, close friends of the artists, except for one showing at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum during a Firfires exhibit. 

“When I saw this lovely piece of art, it truly was the image of Unity through Community,” said La Presidente Henderson. “I am incredibly thankful to John and Lauren for sharing it with our community as a part of our official Fiesta poster.” 

For the 2017 Fiesta pin, La Presidente Henderson chose an elegant rose as the center highlight, surrounded by a stunning red border.

“Roses are such important elements of our Fiestas,” she said, “as ladies both young and old frequently add a rose to their hair to round out their Fiesta outfits. And to me the rose is also a special way to honor our Fiesta Flower Girls, the official ambassadors of Old Spanish Days Fiesta, a fabulous program I had the privilege of chairing for many years.”

The much-anticipated unveiling of the annual Fiesta Poster and Pin was the highlight of a special La Primavera evening that also included a spectacular Flamenco Show choreographed and directed by local artists Linda Vega and Daniela Zermeño.  ,Featuring nine Past Spirits and representations from five local Flamenco studios, this historical performance truly brought this year’s theme to life. 

The evening also included performances by this year’s Spirit of Fiesta, Norma Escárcega, and Junior Spirit Eve Flores.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta is one of the country’s largest regional festivals, and has been an important historic and economic element of the Santa Barbara community since 1924. A complete listing of 2017 Fiesta events can be found on the official Old Spanish Days web site, oldspanishdays-fiesta.org.

Celebrating 93  years of tradition  -  La Presidente Rhonda Ledson Henderson - Gathering for Fiesta, Nicholas S. Firfires (1919 – 1990) , Oil on canvas – Courtesy John & Lauren Mullins – Designed by Jon Patrick Hyde
This year’s Fiesta theme of “ Unity through Community” is in honor of the late Father Virgil Cordano, O.F.M. (1918 – 2007) – May his spirit and the love he
sharedfor our community be remembered always. 

Proclamación de la Presidente 2017

Posted April 14, 2017

For 93 years, since the first “Old Spanish Days” in 1924, Fiesta has been a celebration of the rich history that makes Santa Barbara such a special place. Annually, the experiences shared during Fiesta serves as a uniting force in our community.

Throughout the years, there has been the respectful recognition and steadfast reverence of the traditions born of its origins. The traditions of civility and dignity harken back to a time when life was difficult and often uncertain. Joy was found in the simplest of things. Celebrations often arose from the arrival of visitors, whether family, friends or those merely passing through town. It was truly a Fiesta!

As a fifth generation Californian whose family arrived as immigrants and established a dairy farm on the Rancho Los Osos during the time of the Great Rancho period, I am deeply humbled this year to serve our amazing community as La Presidente. My passion for the beauty and traditions that Old Spanish Days Fiesta celebrates knows no boundaries.

With our 2017 theme, Unity through Community, I am honored to pay homage to one of Fiesta’s greatest champions through the years, the late Father Virgil Cordano, O.F.M.  He was the embodiment of unity through community, and it showed in every aspect of his life. Father Virgil’s legacy is the positive impact his actions had on Old Spanish Days Fiesta and our community; which continues to this day.   

Lastly, I invite you to step away from the complexities of modern day life and allow yourself to be transported back to a magnificent period in our rich history. Take in the sights of the many performances representing traditions from many of Santa Barbara’s cultural influences. Immerse yourself in beautiful music. Most of all, experience the joy that the thousands of participants, volunteers, and community members openly share during Fiesta. Enjoy a little of our inheritance from old California.

 

Viva la Fiesta - Viva la Comunidad!

Rhonda Ledson Henderson
La Presidente, 2017

Old Spanish Days Announces 2017 Fiesta Theme

Posted February 08, 2017

La Presidente Rhonda Henderson Makes It Official in Mission Sacred Garden

Surrounded by local community and civic Leaders, and with the sacred garden of Old Mission Santa Barbara serving as a historic backdrop, 2017 Old Spanish Days La Presidente Rhonda Ledson Henderson unveiled this year’s Fiesta theme – Unity through Community. In Spanish, Unidos en Comunidad.

“Each year, the Presidente for Old Spanish Days has the privilege of selecting a theme for the coming year, and for me, Fiesta has always meant one thing – COMMUNITY!,” said La Presidente Henderson in making the much-anticipated announcement. “The Fiesta family is large and it extends well past our Board – our over 3,500 volunteers, our sponsors, the Mission, our City and County, our first responders, the dance studios, our collaborative non-profits, the artists, and the over 30 non- profits that stage their fundraisers around Fiesta.”

Inspired by the legendary and beloved community leader and Mission friar, Virgil Cordano, La Presidente Henderson chose this year’s theme after much consideration.

“In putting pen to paper and coming up with a theme to encompass the passion I feel for Fiesta, it wasn’t words that jumped out at me, it was a person -- Father Virgil Cordano,” she revealed. “It seemed logical if I wanted to capture the spirit of Father Virgil – to once again share with our community his love for Fiesta, his sense of community, of coming together as one – no words exemplify that more and his own words that we so often heard during Fiesta.” .”

“Father served on the Fiesta Board from 1963 until his death in 2008 – an impressive 45 years and the longest serving Director in our history. Father Virgil was an incredibly active participant in putting on Fiesta each and every year. His presence continues to be missed.”

The Fiesta theme is a large part of Santa Barbara’s summer weeklong Old Spanish Days festival, considered the largest of its type in the United States. This year marks the 94th edition of Fiesta, and it runs from August 2-6, 2017.

La Presidente Henderson is a fifth generation Central Coast native whose family ties date back to the mid 18-hundreds, and the famed Rancho period of California.

“It is an honor to serve as La Presidente for our 93rd annual Fiesta,” said La Presidente Henderson. “Part of the rich heritage we are preserving and celebrating is the Rancho Period. My great, great grandfather Patrick O’Connor arrived here from Ireland in the early 1800’s when he was only 9-years old. He ultimately settled just outside of San Luis Obispo where he started the largest dairy farm in the area on a part of the Los Osos Rancho. I have had no more enjoyment in celebrating my family roots than serving on the Old Spanish Days Board for the past ten years and preserving the rich history of the Rancho Period.”

Contact: David Bolton 
2017 OSD Press Chair
Cell: 805.284.3986 
Email: bolton626@aol.com

Old Spanish Days Names Leadership Team For 93rd Fiesta

Posted November 01, 2016

The organizing group for Santa Barbara’s weeklong Fiesta has named its leadership team for the 93rd edition of one of this country’s largest regional festivals. Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara has selected its Executive Committee, including the seventh Fiesta La Presidente to lead the organization, as well as five Division Chiefs who will oversee a variety of events from Celebrations to Pageantry and from Dance and Entertainment to Mercados and External Relations.

The 2017 Old Spanish Days Executive Committee will include La Presidente Rhonda Ledson Henderson, who joined the OSD Board in 2006, La Primera Vice Presidente Denise Sanford, La Segunda Vice Presidente Barbara Carroll, La Secretaria Michelle Bischoff, and La Tesorera Angela Miller-Bevan.

“It is an honor to represent an organization that truly embodies our community and celebrates our unique history,” said La Presidente Henderson. “Fiesta fosters a unique spirit amongst locals as an important coming together which encourages community cooperation, celebration, and growth.”

The 2017 OSD Division Chiefs include Sue Schwefel (Celebrations), Diana Vandervoort (Dance & Entertainment), Renee Fairbanks (External Relations & History), Jim Wilcox (Marketplaces) and Will Powers, (Pageantry).

““Fiesta is unique among festivals, both local and national, in that it is run primarily by a volunteer Board of Directors,” added Henderson. “We are pleased to present free events to our community including El Desfile Histórico, Noches de Ronda, events at the Stock Horse Show & Rodeo, and La Fiesta Pequeña, as well as entrance to the Mercados – something we deeply value”.

Santa Barbara’s Fiesta was first held in 1924. The 2017 edition will take place August 2-6.

For additional information, please contact the OSD office at 805.962.8101 or email info@oldspanishdays-fiesta.org.

Many Thanks To All!

Posted November 01, 2016

What a great Fiesta 2016! It was a great privilege and honor to serve as this year’s El Presidente. I am truly appreciative of Santa Barbara’s involvement and appreciation of Fiesta.

I began this year by inviting everyone to learn how the sea influenced early Santa Barbara, and by asking everyone to join in celebrating the generosity, lifestyle, hospitality and friendliness of the spirit of old Santa Barbara through Fiesta. 

This time period was known as a time of great fiestas, vaquero horsemanship and laughter.  As we enjoyed all of the different Fiesta events, it became evident that the theme “Santa Barbara: The Coastal Frontier” let us explore how the sea continues to bring our history and culture, and families together. 

It was an honor to participate with the community in our beloved tradition! 

¡Viva La Fiesta!

JC Gordon
El Presidente 2016

Project Fiesta! Building a Complete History of Old Spanish Days

Posted July 20, 2016

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is proud to introduce a new installation titled Project Fiesta! Building A Complete History of Old Spanish Days, which focuses on the important roles Fiesta has played in the Santa Barbara community. Fall in love with Fiesta as memories of the festival come to life with personal stories, vintage posters, restored costumes, historical photographs, and artifacts that connect our community and celebrate our traditions.

Special events include a History Happy Hour titled Old Spanish Days: Santa Barbara History Through Public Art by Erin Graffy de Garcia ~ Wednesday, July 27. Location: Sanford Winery in La Arcada at 1114 State Street

Also, a Walking Tour around Santa Barbara's historic downtown with Erin Graffy, who will help you discover some of the hidden history and art that you walk by every day.Reservation required. Museum members are complimentary; guests are $5.

For more information and tickets go to Santa Barbara Historical Museum website.

Jean-Michel Cousteau Named Grand Marshal for Santa Barbara’s Historical Fiesta Parade

Posted July 19, 2016

By Sarah Scarminach, Reprinted from Noozhawk News

The environmentalist who created the Ocean Futures Society will lead the parade for this year's celebrations, which have the theme of "The Coastal Frontier

A gloomy morning turned into a beautiful Tuesday afternoon as Jean-Michel Cousteau stood aboard the Double Dolphin and accepted his position as grand marshal for this year’s Historical Fiesta Parade.

The environmentalist who created the Ocean Futures Society will lead the parade for this year's celebrations, which have the theme of "The Coastal Frontier" 

A gloomy morning turned into a beautiful Tuesday afternoon as Jean-Michel Cousteau stood aboard the Double Dolphin and accepted his position as grand marshal for this year’s Historical Fiesta Parade.

The short cruise, put on by Fiesta El Presidente, JC Gordon, began in the Santa Barbara Harbor and ended just off Leadbetter Beach before the ship returned back to port.

On deck, Cousteau was honored while Old Spanish Days board members and guests mingled and enjoyed sandwiches as well as views of the beautiful Santa Barbara coastline.

The Old Spanish Days celebrations take place all over Santa Barbara from Aug. 3 to Aug. 7 and the Historical Parade — or El Desfile Histórico — is one of the biggest events, which features floats, wagons and hundreds of horses. 

As grand marshal, Cousteau will be at the very front of this massive celebration and lead the parade which will be held at noon Aug. 5.

Cousteau, who is best known for his ocean documentaries and marine conservation, is the creator of Ocean Futures Society — a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit that specializes in ocean protection and education programs.

This year's Fiesta theme is “The Coastal Frontier,” which provided inspiration for Cousteau’s involvement, the Old Spanish Days event poster and even the boat ride.

When Gordon announced Cousteau as this year’s grand marshal, the Double Dolphin was strategically navigated to be at the same location that is painted in this year’s poster.

“I’ve never been a part of Fiesta, but I’ve always watched it,” Cousteau said. “When I was approached to be a part of Fiesta, that was an honor for me. It was very emotional.”

Cousteau believes that it was his status as an “ocean guy,” which made him a prime candidate for this position. “I think they want to make the connection between the ocean and the culture,” he said. 

And after spending a few moments with Cousteau, it’s not hard to see why he was selected. Cousteau is infinitely passionate about the ocean as well as Santa Barbara culture and he fully understands the importance of this year’s theme.

“My role is going to attract people to focus on the historical side of the coastlines and to make sure that message has been shared,” Cousteau said. “I feel very privileged.”

Cousteau grew up in the South of France and has always loved the ocean. When he was 7 years old, his father — ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau — strapped a scuba diving tank onto Cousteau’s back and he hasn’t been able to stay away since.

Nowadays, the environmentalist has relocated to Santa Barbara because “the climate, the architecture and the temperature of the ocean is the same here,” he said.

“I feel that, other than the language, it’s as if I was at home, like when I grew up.” 

On deck, Cousteau was honored while Old Spanish Days board members and guests mingled and enjoyed sandwiches as well as views of the beautiful Santa Barbara coastline.

The Old Spanish Days celebrations take place all over Santa Barbara from Aug. 3 to Aug. 7 and the Historical Parade — or El Desfile Histórico — is one of the biggest events, which features floats, wagons and hundreds of horses. 

As grand marshal, Cousteau will be at the very front of this massive celebration and lead the parade which will be held at noon Aug. 5.

Cousteau, who is best known for his ocean documentaries and marine conservation, is the creator of Ocean Futures Society — a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit that specializes in ocean protection and education programs.

This year's Fiesta theme is “The Coastal Frontier,” which provided inspiration for Cousteau’s involvement, the Old Spanish Days event poster and even the boat ride.

When Gordon announced Cousteau as this year’s grand marshal, the Double Dolphin was strategically navigated to be at the same location that is painted in this year’s poster.

“I’ve never been a part of Fiesta, but I’ve always watched it,” Cousteau said. “When I was approached to be a part of Fiesta, that was an honor for me. It was very emotional.”

Cousteau believes that it was his status as an “ocean guy,” which made him a prime candidate for this position. “I think they want to make the connection between the ocean and the culture,” he said. 

And after spending a few moments with Cousteau, it’s not hard to see why he was selected. Cousteau is infinitely passionate about the ocean as well as Santa Barbara culture and he fully understands the importance of this year’s theme.

“My role is going to attract people to focus on the historical side of the coastlines and to make sure that message has been shared,” Cousteau said. “I feel very privileged.”

Cousteau grew up in the South of France and has always loved the ocean. When he was 7 years old, his father — ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau — strapped a scuba diving tank onto Cousteau’s back and he hasn’t been able to stay away since.

Nowadays, the environmentalist has relocated to Santa Barbara because “the climate, the architecture and the temperature of the ocean is the same here,” he said.

“I feel that, other than the language, it’s as if I was at home, like when I grew up.” 

(Click here for a full schedule of Old Spanish Days events.)


Photo Id (Top): Environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, left, will be this year’s Grand Marshal for the Old Spanish Days Historical Parade, announced El Presidente JC Gordon, right.  (Fritz Olenberger photo)

Photo Id (Middle): A group paddling a tomol, the traditional boat of the Chumash, could be seen from the Double Dolphin as part of the Old Spanish Days parade Grand Marshal announcement.  (Fritz Olenberger photo)

Ninth Annual Fiesta Ranchera at Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta

Posted June 18, 2016

Fiesta Ranchera is now Goleta’s biggest event of the year. For the first time, Fiesta Ranchera incorporated an all-inclusive format with over 20 restaurants, wineries and breweries to sample from.

The event is a 50/50 fundraiser for Old Spanish Days and the Goleta Valley Historical Society at a location steeped in California history.

“We welcome you for a rare opportunity to enjoy this lovely, historic landmark for a magical night at the Ranch,” said Amanda De Lucia, executive director of Goleta Valley Historical Society.

While the Fiesta and western-attired attendees mingled, guitarist Tony Ybarra and his band got the night started with beautiful flamenco music.

Two highlights of the night were the performances from the 2016 Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta who entertained the crowd. The Rev. Larry Gosselin of Saint Barbara Parish provided a blessing to the event and to the firefighters. 

Sponsors were thanked and then the crowd packed the dance floor and danced the night away to the sounds of Area 51.

— Erik Davis is the public relations chair for Old Spanish Days.   (Fritz Olenberger photo)

South Coast Business & Technology Awards Honor’s Old Spanish Days.

Posted June 14, 2016

Annual awards banquet brings together innovation leaders for Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara benefit

[excerpted from noozhawk.com] Local leaders in business and technology gather to recognize individuals and companies who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to ensuring the economic vitality of the South Coast of Santa Barbara County. Proceeds benefit the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara’s South Coast Business & Technology Awards Fund, which grants scholarships to local students studying business and technology-related subjects at local schools.

“This event is truly unique,” Scholarship Foundation president and CEO Candace Winkler told Noozhawk. “It is an opportunity to celebrate the top echelon of the business and technology community while supporting our local students — the next generation of leaders.”

The Excellence in Service Award was presented to Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, dedicated to celebrating, honoring and preserving Santa Barbara’s history, spirit, culture, heritage, and traditions.

Read full article on noozhawk.com 

Fiesta Summer Season to Open with Fiesta Ranchera Tasting Event

Posted June 13, 2016

The ninth annual Fiesta Ranchera will open Fiesta’s summer season June 16 starting at 5 p.m. at the historic Rancho La Patera & Stow House, 304 N. Los Carneros Road in Goleta.

This popular tasting event, co-hosted by Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara and the Goleta Valley Historical Society, offers a festive evening of pre-Fiesta fun, food, music and dancing.

The beautiful gardens of Rancho La Patera & Stow House offer the perfect ambiance for a sampling of food from local restaurants and wines from local award-winning wineries as well as craft beer and signature drinks.

Guitarist Tony Ybarra will play as the crowd mingles, followed by performances from the 2016 Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta. Then guests will dance the night away to the ever-favorite sounds of Area 51.

“Join hundreds of area friends at one of Goleta’s largest events and enjoy a festive evening of food, drinks and dancing at historic Rancho La Patera & Stow House,” Fiesta spokesman Erik Davis said. “Meet 2016 El Presidente J.C. Gordon and get a taste of the upcoming 2016 Old Spanish Days Fiesta season.”

Tickets for Goleta’s best summer event are $65 and are now all inclusive and may be purchased online at www.sbfiesta.org. Tickets will also be available for $80 at the door.

Designated driver and group discounts are available. Guests must be 21 to enter. Attendees are encouraged to dress in Fiesta or ranch attire.

“We look forward to welcoming you for a rare opportunity to enjoy this lovely, historic landmark after the sun sets for a magical night at the Ranch,” says Amanda De Lucia, executive director of Goleta Valley Historical Society.

The best restaurants, wineries, and breweries will be on site to provide guests with a unique, local tasting experience. Restaurants and chefs to showcase their fabulous fare include Anna’s Bakery, Angel Oak at Bacara Resort & Spa, Catering Connection, Country Catering & Meat Market, Goodland Kitchen, McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams, The Nugget, Pepe’s Mexican Food, Rincon Events, Trattoria Grappolo, Caffe Primo, On The Alley, Benchmark Eatery, Farmer Boy, High Sierra Bar & Grill, Woodstock’s Pizza, Woody’s BBQ and Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Guests will sip wine by Alexander & Wayne, Arthur Earl, Bella Cavalli Vineyard, Sunstone, Windrun and Zaca Mesa, along with craft beer from Hollister Brewing Co., Enegren Brewing, Captain Fatty’s, Santa Maria Brewing, Telegraph Brewing and Knee Deep Brewing.

Fiesta Ranchera wouldn’t be possible without help from presenting sponsors Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf and Community West Bank; gold sponsor Cox Communications; and supporting sponsors Goleta Valley Chamber of CommerceBella Vista DesignsCatering ConnectionSpark Creative EventsMarBorg IndustriesVenoco, Inc.Ventura Party Rental Center and many others.

This year’s Fiesta Ranchera coincides with the Goleta Valley Historical Society’s 50th year of preservation. Its mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and foster research of Goleta Valley’s history through exhibits, programs and stewardship of the historic Rancho La Patera, home to the Stow family.

Also, Old Spanish Days Fiesta is celebrating 92 years in Santa Barbara. The tradition fosters a unique spirit among locals and tourists who participate and celebrates the Rancho period (1820-69), a special era in California history.

Both the Goleta Valley Historical Society and Old Spanish Days Fiesta are 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporations.

— Erik Davis is the public relations chair for Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

La Primavera Party held at Historic Rancho Dos Pueblo

Posted May 16, 2016

(REPRINT FROM NEWS-PRESS MAY 15, 2016)

Fiesta Goes to 'Ground Zero' Old Spanish Days' La Primavera Party held at Historic Rancho Dos Pueblo

El Presidente J.C. Gordon wanted this year's La Primavera to be special for his year as the head of Old Spanish Days.

In past years, the official kickoff and major fundraiser to Fiesta has taken place downtown, but on this Saturday evening, hundreds of people dined and danced under the stars and next to the ocean at Rancho Dos Pueblos. The isolated ranch and even more isolated beach was the perfect location for this year's theme: Santa Barbara - The Coastal Frontier.

"There really is no better place to hold La Primavera," Mr. Gordon said. "There is no other place where you can stand in one spot and point out to where Juan Cabrillo anchored and where (Gaspar de) Portol. . . camped on the creek."

Indeed those two events - one in 1542 and the other in 1769 - and the naming of Dos Pueblos for the two Chumash villages on the hills that overlook the beach, make this location "ground zero" for the history of Santa Barbara, Mr. Gordon said.

Where recent Fiesta themes have reflected on abstract ideas of romance and family, Mr. Gordon has chosen to go for the entire history of the region, trying everything to the Santa Barbara Channel.

Fitting in with the seaside theme was the teal color featured on many of the dignitarios' outfits, from teal cravats to full Spanish dresses, chosen by Mr. Gordon's wife, Jamie.

Guests were brought to the beachside party by horse-drawn carriages, and once assembled all eyes turned to the lake that rests under a nearby railway trestle.

A small group of Chumash appeared in a tomol - the tribe's traditional boat - paddling slowly, while men and women in Spanish regalia approached, drummers drumming, and recreating the meeting of the two people. A Chumash elder blew a conch shell in all four direction and Chumash singers sung, all kicking off the event.

Reggie Pagaling, another Chumash elder, reminded the crowd that 1824 was the "last stand" of the Chumash against the Spanish and Californios. This was where the Chumash spiritual leaders rejected being converted to Catholicism.

"But that was a long time ago," he added. "Now is a new time. We're here to share our (tomol) but also we get an opportunity to sing our songs to our elders."

J.C. Gordon then introduced plein air artist Jeremy Harper, who painted the landscape that makes up this year's Old Spanish Days poster. The painting depicts Santa Barbara hundreds of years ago as seen from the ocean, when the Mission was the main defining feature of the area.

At Saturday's event, the painting was unveiled to a three-gun salute. "This was mostly J.C. and Jamie's idea to involve the ocean the way we have," said Mr. Harper. "And I couldn't be happier as I grew up surfing and loving the ocean as much as anybody on Earth. To be involved in this way is a great joy."

There was a slight delay in the unveiling of this year's Fiesta pin, which features abalone, and is an illustration of the Chumash Tabernacle at the Santa Barbara Mission, but by the end of the evening, everybody had one in hand.

Mayor Helene Schneider said this year's Fiesta "is to honor and remember our history, to come together in friendship and in love. And I want to honor and respect the Chumash elders and family members who are here today."

There followed a four-course meal, performances by the Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta and live music past sundown.

The next pre-Fiesta event is Fiesta Ranchera, to be held June 16 at Goleta's Rancho La Patera. For more information go to http://oldspanishdays-fiesta.org/events/events-calendar

email: news@newspress.com

Spirit and Junior Spirit for 2016

Posted April 19, 2016

By Gail Arnold, Noozhawk Contributing Writer | @NoozhawkNews | (Reprint from Noozhawk.com)

Alexis Simentales Earns Spirit of Fiesta Title, with Sarah Naretto Named Junior Spirit

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About 450 enthusiastic community members turned out for the Spirit of Fiesta Auditions on Saturday afternoon at La Cumbre Junior High School on Santa Barbara’s Westside.

The crowd was treated to incredible performances by the 12 finalists for the Spirit of Fiesta and the 11 finalists for the Junior Spirit of Fiesta. 

Alexis Simentales was named the 2016 Spirit of Fiesta and Sarah Naretto the Junior Spirit. The runners-up were Alexia Olivares and Reese Danhauer, respectively.

The Spirit and Junior Spirit represent the charm and beauty of the culture of Old Spanish Days, and they perform at many official Old Spanish Days events as well as at receptions held by area civic organizations. Most events take place during the week of July 31-Aug. 7.

Denise Sanford, Segunda Vice Presidente of Old Spanish Days, extended a warm welcome to the crowd and introduced Father Larry Gosselin, associate pastor of St. Barbara Parish at the Santa Barbara Mission, who delivered a blessing.

A promenade of all the participants was followed by individual dance presentations. Every dancer enthralled the crowd, with each receiving huge screams and cheers from their fans.

Simentales, an 18-year-old Santa Barbara native, exuded beauty, grace and stunning talent. She has been dancing since she was 2½ years old and has participated in every Fiesta since.

She is a full-time student at Santa Barbara City College, where she is studying to be a neonatal registered nurse. She also works as a behavioral aide at Hillside House and volunteers at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, in addition to putting in long hours of dance practice.

In becoming this year’s Spirit, Simentales is upholding a family tradition — there are five past Spirits of Fiesta in her extended family.

While laughing softly and taking my arm, she assured me that there was no pressure. This is her third time auditioning, and she told me with the sweetest smile that  “the third time is very much the charm.”

Simentales related that the best part about being the Spirit is the opportunity to “represent the  community with all the passion and love that we have here in Santa Barbara.”

She has studied dance at three studios, including at Zermeno Dance Academy for the past five years.

Naretto, 10, also a Santa Barbara native, is a fifth-grader at La Patera School in Goleta. She has been dancing since she was 6 and currently studies at Zermeno.

With the most contagious of smiles, a true warmth of spirit and polished dancing skills, she, along with Simentales, will be delighting crowds at every performance.

Both Simentales and Naretto performed Flamenco dances, as did nearly all of the other dancers. Simentales danced in Alegrias style to “Los Lirios” music while Naretto performed in the Columbiana style to “Amor de España” music.

Nearly as emotionally charged as the announcement of this year’s winners were the eloquent and straight-from-the-heart farewell speeches made by last year’s Junior Spirit, Ysabella Yturralde, and Spirit Alexandra Freres.

Yturralde related that her “favorite performance was gazing out to the moon, stars, ocean and the people of our community gathered around the Mission steps. I watched everyone’s heart being touched by the beautiful Spanish culture. This was a moment I will love and cherish forever.”

The speeches were followed by final beautiful dance performances by Yturralde and then by Freres.

The auditions were followed by Las Artistas, a reception at Cielito Restaurant where all the participants and audience members were invited to meet the new Spirit and Junior Spirit, as well as past Spirits, and enjoy a buffet reception.

Dancers and guests mingled on the La Arcada patio in the warm sun with live guitar music in the background as well as inside in a private dining area.

The finalists, hailing from the many local dance schools that teach the dances of Spain, Mexico, and early California, spent long hours rehearsing for this day. Pre-auditions were held in January when 23 dancers auditioned for the Junior Spirit title and 12 for the Spirit title.

The Spirit must be between 16 and 20 years old at the time of Old Spanish Days and the Junior Spirit between 8 and 10 years old.

The selection of the Spirit and Junior Spirit is based on a personal interview and the dance performance. The three judges, whose identities are not disclosed, are selected each year by Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara Inc., the nonprofit organization that runs Old Spanish Days.

The next event is the April 30 Spirit Luncheon followed by La Primavera on May 14.

 

Fiesta Dance Auditions 2016

Cox 8 Broadcast Schedule

TRT: 120 minutes.

The show will be broadcast for 5 weeks.

Starts Sunday                      May 15th      2:00pm         Show runs for 5 weeks.

Starts Saturday                   June 4th        2:00pm         Show runs for 5 weeks.

     (It will also be available on Cox8TV.com website starting this week.)

Starts Wednesday              June 8th        5:00pm         Show runs for 5 weeks

Proclamación del Presidente 2016

Posted April 05, 2016

It is with my great pleasure to extend to you, residents and visitors of Santa Barbara, a gracious “Bienvenidos a Todos!” This marks the 92nd year our community will celebrate our seaside town’s multicultural history and traditions.

Santa Barbara’s geographical environment played a central role in the establishment of the isolated Presidio de Santa Barbara. From the times of Santa Barbara’s earliest inhabitants, the Chumash, to the Spanish explorers and on through the Mexican-American Rancho Periods, the significance of the sea has shaped and influenced our American Riviera.

This year’s theme – Santa Barbara: The Coastal Frontier draws inspiration from Santa Barbara’s early maritime history and its direct relationship and the embodiment of the prosperous Californio lifestyle during the early nineteenth century, the Old Spanish Days.

Though Spanish Manila Galleons were known to sail past Santa Barbara for over two hundred fifty years, it wasn’t until the early Rancho Period, during which Mexico opened Alta California to sea trade, that Santa Barbara became an internationally known trade port. The arrival of a Yanqui coastal trader or foreign merchant ship was always a much-anticipated event. Maritime traders, plying the coast for sea otter pelts, cowhides, and tallow, also brought to Santa Barbara hard-to-get news, lavish clothes, extravagant personal adornments, fine furnishings, and a reason for those from the vast neighboring ranchos to come together and indulge in food, song, dance – and guests! The leaders of Santa Barbara’s political and social life, the owners of the great ranchos would often host celebratory fandangos to welcome these visitors from the sea. 

We invite you this year to imagine arriving at Alta California’s Santa Barbara shoreline in those early days, after many months at sea, experiencing the blending of our early cultures.  These "golden days" have been known as a time of great fiestas, vaquero horsemanship, laughter, of great wealth and much leisure time for enjoying life. Disembark and create your own timeless family traditions. We at Old Spanish Days invite you to learn how the sea influenced early Santa Barbara. Join us in celebrating the generosity, lifestyle, hospitality and friendliness of the spirit of old Santa Barbara with the time honored ritual we call – Fiesta. 

Santa Bárbara: La Frontera Costera

Viva la Fiesta!

J.C. Gordon
El Presidente - 2016