photo:Proclamación del Presidente 2016

Fiesta News

2019 Poster and Pin Unveiled

Posted May 30, 2019

During a sold-out Fiesta kick-off event, 2019 La Presidenta Barbara Carroll unveiled this year’s official Fiesta poster and pin. 

The poster is an original graphic design by local Santa Barbara artist Victor Sigismondi, and features a classic parade scene in bright vivid colors. It showcases the children, dancers and horses in the parade in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. 

“I wanted to capture the essence of the parade in my poster, as the parade is my first memory of Fiesta, and it’s what drew me in as a Fiesta volunteer all of those years ago,” said La Presidenta Carroll. “I think the parade is one of our most iconic events, and anyone who has ever attended our parade will instantly recognize the scene and connect with it,” Carroll added.

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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

“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.

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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 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, 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.  

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Old Spanish Days Announces 2019 Fiesta Theme

Posted 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.

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Proclamación Old Spanish Days 2019

Posted February 20, 2019

The heart and soul of any community are the people who give back to make it a better place.  So many people in our city give of themselves to make Old Spanish Days Fiesta happen each year. It is this participation that I believe makes Fiesta the best of all of Santa Barbara’s amazing festivals, and it is why we are celebrating our 95th year. 

Every year thousands partake in our annual celebration by giving the gift of their time to volunteer….  Whether you work behind the scenes at an event, spread joy as a Flower Girl, perform as a dancer or musician, ride in the parade, compete in the rodeo, or enjoy it all as a spectator, you bring the community – our community – to life. 

The varied events of Old Spanish Days Fiesta showcase the warmth, generosity, vivacity and sense of fun we as a community have to offer.  The numerous celebrations organized by our dedicated board of directors each year would not be possible without the enthusiastic participation of thousands of volunteers. This gift to the community provides an opportunity to remember and rejoice in our shared history and culture. 

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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

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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.   

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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 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. “

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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 nine finalists for the Junior Spirit of Fiesta.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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¡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.

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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 

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.

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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. 

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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.”

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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] 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.

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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.

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La Primavera Party held at Historic Rancho Dos Pueblo

Posted May 16, 2016


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.

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Spirit and Junior Spirit for 2016

Posted April 19, 2016

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

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


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.

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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.

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