Mercado de la Guerra Part of Fiesta 2021

Posted Jun 22, 2021
Mercado de la Guerra Part of Fiesta 2021

SANTA BARBARA, CA - At the site that many consider the heart of Fiesta, local non-profit leaders joined Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara officials, and members of the local dance community, to announce Mercado de La Guerra will return to this year’s Fiesta.

Sidelined last year due to the restrictions, Mercado De La Guerra has been a part of Fiesta since the early days. Now in its 97th year, Fiesta in Santa Barbara offers a variety of free events to the public during the first weekend of August. No event exemplifies everything that is Fiesta more than the Mercado. From food to song and dance to providing a platform for local non-profits to earn their important annual operating revenues, Mercado De La Guerra is truly the heart of Fiesta.

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2021 Mercado De La Guerra has been cancelled

Posted Jun 21, 2021

In consideration of the health and safety of our visitors and community, Mercado De La Guerra has been canceled.

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2021 Fiesta Returns in a Big Way

Posted Jun 16, 2021
2021 Fiesta Returns in a Big Way

SANTA BARBARA, CA - With the opening of California and the lifting of many restrictions, Fiesta will be returning to Santa Barbara this summer with many of the traditional events that have made up Old Spanish Days for nearly 100 years.

Some of the highlights for this year’s Fiesta announced by officials during a Tuesday media conference on the steps of Old Mission Santa Barbara:

Fiesta Pequeña will return to the steps of the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara on Wednesday, August 4.

Noches de Ronda will return to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden Thursday, August 5-Saturday, August 7. Tardes de Ronda will be held that Saturday afternoon.

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2021 Spirit and Junior Spirit Announced

Posted May 18, 2021
2021 Spirit and Junior Spirit Announced

This year, 10 Spirit Finalists and 5 Junior Spirit Finalists auditioned for the title of Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta.  

The 2021 Spirit Auditions were held at the historic Lobero Theatre where Fiesta began in 1924 and was broadcast live on Channel 13/1013.  A rebroadcast of the event will air on Saturday, April 24th at 7 PM on Channel 13/1013.  

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2021 Fiesta Poster and Pin Unveiled

Posted May 17, 2021
2021 Fiesta Poster and Pin Unveiled

As they have for 97 years, and with emotion, fanfare and excitement, the 2021 Fiesta Poster and Pin have been unveiled to the community.

La Presidenta Stephanie Petlow had the distinguished honor in front of family, friends and members of the community at the Fiesta kick-off La Primavera celebration at The Carriage and Western Art Museum. It was a special moment for Ms. Petlow who designed the poster and pin using family, youth and history.

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Fiesta 2021 Unveiled

Posted May 13, 2021
Fiesta 2021 Unveiled

SANTA BARBARA, CA - With historic parade carriages forming a picturesque backdrop, and flanked by members of the extended Old Spanish Days family, 2021 La Presidenta Stephanie Petlow revealed a full slate of Fiesta events for this coming year, sans parade and mercados, and announced the Fiesta 2021 theme “Honoring our Generations.”

Fiesta Pequeña, Noches de Ronda, Arts and Crafts Show, Rodeo, and a handful of traditional parties will be all part of Fiesta 2021, and all of the planning that has taken place includes the most current guidelines and protocols. Attendance and event size will be smaller to assure community safety, but Fiesta is returning.

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2021 Leadership Team Announced

Posted Nov 17, 2020
2021 Leadership Team Announced

SANTA BARBARA, CA – November 17, 2021 – History continues in Santa Barbara as Old Spanish Days announces the leadership team for the 2021 Old Spanish Days Fiesta. The Executive Committee will be comprised of: La Presidenta Stephanie Petlow;  La Primera Vice Presidente Maria Cabrera; El Segundo Vice Presidente y El Secretario David Bolton and La Tesorera Casie Killgore. The elected Division Chiefs include: Division Chief of Celebrations Janice Howell; Division Chief of Dance and Entertainment Maria Cabrera and Division Chief of Pageantry Gary MacDonald. 

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El Presidente Thank you 2020

Posted Aug 10, 2020
El Presidente Thank you 2020

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to personally thank all the amazing sponsors, volunteers, collaborative partners and the entire Santa Barbara community for helping to bring forward Fiesta joy during this challenging year.

My theme this year was “¡Vamos a Bailar!”, in English, “Let’s Dance!”. And as my good friend and Parade Grand Marshal Father Larry Gosselin so eloquently quoted during La Misa Del Presidente, “when you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance”. And we did!  Because of the generosity, encouragement and support of our wonderful community we were able to bring forward dance, music and history in ways never seen before and in ways that took our magnificent festival beyond the Santa Barbara region.

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The Reimagined Fiesta Caravan Parade will not go on as planned

Posted Aug 05, 2020

The Fiesta Spirit lives in the heart.

As we have done from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Old Spanish Days (OSD) continues to make decisions that are in the best interest of public health and safety.  To that end, we are not going to proceed with our small but spirited reimagined Fiesta caravan car parade that was scheduled for Friday, August 7.   

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Father Larry Gosselin named Grand Marshal of Reimaged 2020 Fiesta Parade

Posted Jul 30, 2020
Father Larry Gosselin named Grand Marshal  of Reimaged 2020 Fiesta Parade

Long-time friend and supporter of Fiesta to carry on tradition

SANTA BARBARA, CA – July 29, 2020 – Organizers of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara have announced that Father Larry Gosselin, a long-time supporter and friend of Fiesta, has been named the Grand Marshal of the Reimagined 2020 Fiesta Caravan Parade.  The caravan parade will take place on Friday, August 7, starting at noon and will feature classic cars and decorated vehicles and will travel through Santa Barbara and Montecito neighborhoods bringing Fiesta joy as it passes. 

“This is a privileged honor that I accept with a very humble heart, but with immense gratitude and appreciation,” said Father Larry. “It’s an honor that I never could have imagined that I would be given, with all the highest respect, esteem, and admiration I have always held for the community of Santa Barbara.”

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Online Auction to Benefit Fiesta

Posted Jul 27, 2020
Online Auction to Benefit Fiesta

Local artists including Grace Fisher, Chris Potter and Richard Schloss bring hope and joy to first-ever online auction

SANTA BARBARA, CA – July 27, 2020 – Organizers of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara invite the community to participate in their first-ever online auction. The auction is open through Sunday, August 9, 2020 and proceeds will benefit Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, a 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to honoring and preserving Santa Barbara’s history, spirit, culture, heritage, and traditions.

The auction, open now at www.sbfiesta.org/auction, features 10 limited-edition 2020 Fiesta posters printed on metal. The 2020 Fiesta poster is an original graphic design by local Santa Barbara artist Andrew Leonard. The poster captures iconic scenes of Santa Barbara like the Santa Barbara Mission and the waterfront and prominently features a dancing couple.

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Operation Light up your Fiesta Spirit

Posted Jul 18, 2020
Operation Light up your Fiesta Spirit

Organizers of the 2020 Reimagined Fiesta invite the community
to help keep the Fiesta Spirit Alive

SANTA BARBARA, CA –July 18, 2020 – Organizers of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara invite the community to light up their homes and businesses this Fiesta season to help keep the Fiesta Spirit Alive. 

"Operation ‘Light up your Fiesta Spirit’ is just one way to honor our beloved festival while bringing joy and solidarity into our neighborhoods,” said El Presidente Erik Davis. “We hope seeing the colors and symbols of Fiesta remind the community that we’re all in this together and that there are better days ahead. Hope, joy and optimism have always been a big part of this reimagined Fiesta. Please join us and Light up your Fiesta Spirit Santa Barbara!”

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2020 Honorary Presidentes & Presidentas Announced

Posted Jul 05, 2020
2020 Honorary Presidentes & Presidentas Announced

Honorees include local celebrity John Palminteri  and California Historian Erin Graffy

SANTA BARBARA, CA – July 5, 2020 – Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara is pleased to announce that Hugh P. and Dianne Davis, Bill and Solange Springer, Geoff Grow, Kathy Baron, Nancy Callahan, John Palminteri and Erin Graffy de Garcia have been named honorary El Presidentes & La Presidentas for Fiesta 2020.  

Honorary Presidentes and Presidentas are chosen each year by the current El Presidente or La Presidenta.  It is an honor bestowed on them for their personal support to the current Presidente or their contributions to Old Spanish Days.

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Fiesta Music and Dance Fridays Lineup Announced

Posted Jun 30, 2020

Live-streamed summer concert series will provide a venue to bring music and dance to the community in a safe way.

SANTA BARBARA, CA – June 30, 2020 – Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara announced today the lineup for Fiesta Music and Dance Fridays, a live-streamed concert series.

Audiences can watch a great lineup of popular local bands from anywhere in the world streamed to a Smart TV or on any internet-connected device, such as a phone, tablet or computer. Scheduled acts include: Area 51, Spencer the Gardner, False Puppet, King Bee and Mezcal Martini. In between sets, Old Spanish Days will bring forward local dance acts and history segments. Every Friday in July, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, Fiesta Music and Dance Fridays will be streamed for free to the Santa Barbara community and beyond.

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Announcing the Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta 2020

Posted Jun 15, 2020
Announcing the Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta 2020

Alena Velasco earns 2020 Spirit of Fiesta title and Alexandra Nocker earns Junior Spirit title

SANTA BARBARA, CA – June 15, 2020 – Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara is pleased to announce that Alena Velasco is the Spirit of Fiesta 2020 and Alexandra Nocker the Junior Spirit of Fiesta 2020.

The tradition of the Spirit of Fiesta started in 1949 and embodies the joy and vitality of Santa Barbara's beloved annual summer festival.  The Spirits are goodwill ambassadors to local residents and visitors alike and represent the charm, grace and beauty of Old Spanish Days. 

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Commemorative Fiesta 2020 Poster and Pin Unveiled

Posted May 21, 2020
Commemorative Fiesta 2020 Poster and Pin Unveiled

Iconic scenes from Santa Barbara and dancing couple featured

During a live television appearance, El Presidente Erik Davis unveiled this year’s official Commemorative Fiesta poster and pin.

The poster and pin are both original graphic designs by local Santa Barbara artist Andrew Leonard. The poster captures iconic scenes of Santa Barbara like the Santa Barbara Mission and the waterfront and prominently features a dancing couple. The couple depicted were inspired by famous posters from Seville, Spain and are evocative of this year’s Fiesta Theme,“¡Vamos a Bailar!”, in English, “Let’s Dance!”. The pin also features the dancing couple and the Mission while drawing inspiration from past pin designs. 

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Fiesta to be Reimagined for 2020

Posted May 21, 2020

Historic festival to focus on staying together, while staying apart

Putting the health and safety of the community first, the Old Spanish Days board of directors has made the decision to reimagine Fiesta for 2020 by holding many of its signature events online, on television or in ways that adhere to physical distancing practices, all while promoting and encouraging community-wide participation.

To protect audiences, dancers, musicians, volunteers and the community from the spread of COVID-19 and in response to guidance from elected and health officials, no Fiesta events will be held where large crowds could gather.



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A Message from El Presidente Erik Davis

Posted Apr 02, 2020

On behalf of the Old Spanish Days Board of Directors, please know that we are thinking of you and our Santa Barbara community during this time of uncertainty.

Our hearts go out to those in our region and those around the world who have been impacted financially, emotionally and physically by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Old Spanish Days Board of Directors is closely monitoring the situation with the Coronavirus and is meeting with government officials, sponsors, and collaborative partners to plan for a wide-variety of scenarios. We have rescheduled Fiesta events that were planned for April and May and we are working hard to find creative ways to honor our rich traditions.

Watch a 2 minute video message from El Presidente Erik Davis

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Proclamación del Presidente

Posted Feb 21, 2020
Proclamación del Presidente

Welcome Friends, Bienvenidos Amigos


On behalf of the Board of Directors of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, it is my honor to welcome you to the 96th Fiesta celebration!

~ The rhythm of life in Santa Barbara is measured from one Fiesta to another: Families gather together, making memories, forming traditions, sharing the pride we all feel in our community.

For five enchanted days under the warm summer sun, and during the full of the August moon, Fiesta lifts our spirits and delights our senses. In a kaleidoscope of activity, 

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Old Spanish Days Announces Fiesta 2020 Theme

Posted Feb 21, 2020
Old Spanish Days Announces Fiesta 2020 Theme

At a lively reception at the El Paseo last night, El Presidente Erik Davis announced the theme and proclamation for Fiesta 2020!

Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara announced that the official theme of this year’s Fiesta will be “¡Vamos a Bailar!”, in English, “Let’s Dance!”.

Each year, the Presidente of Fiesta chooses a theme that will set the tone for the coming year. El Presidente Erik Davis was inspired by the way dance is so deeply connected to all aspects of Fiesta.

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