Fiesta to be Reimagined for 2020

Posted May 21, 2020

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.

“With so much still unknown, it’s too big of a risk to hold a large-scale event like Fiesta that will attract thousands of people,” said El Presiente Erik Davis. “During these unprecedented times we believe it's the right thing to do so that people can adjust their plans and we can move forward and do what we can to make the best of the situation.”

Fiesta 2020, scheduled to take place August 5-9, 2020 at 19 venues city-wide, will be reimagined and will take place mostly on television and online and will include adaptive events that the community can participate in from home or their car.

“This is not how any of us expected this year to go,” El Presidente Davis said. “But we are all having to adjust and find moments that bring us joy. So while we won’t be gathering like we normally would, the Fiesta Board has adjusted our planning to focus on safe and adaptive ways that will still bring forward the Fiesta spirit and will honor many of our rich traditions.”

The plans for a reimagined program will include the release of the Commemorative Fiesta 2020 Poster and Pin which was unveiled live on KEYT News Channel 3 and available for purchase on the Old Spanish Days website.

La Fiesta Pequeña, normally held on the steps of the beautiful Santa Barbara Mission, will be reimagined as a prime-time televised event airing on August 5 that will replay highlights from past La Fiesta Pequeña events and will include live commentary from hosts.

The organization is also exploring creative and innovative ways to reimagine the El Desfile Historico (Historical Parade) while paying tribute to our dedicated health workers. Plans will be announced as soon.

The organization also plans to bring forward a virtual summer concert series called “Fiesta Music & Dance Fridays” that will feature local bands and will highlight restaurants and non-profits typically seen at the Mercados. Culminating with grand performances on Friday, August 7 and Saturday August 8, these virtual concerts will be streamed on the organization’s Facebook page and will be shown on TVSB, Santa Barbara’s community access television station. The community is encouraged to tune in and dance at home.

The organization will also host a series of virtual interviews, air historic footage of past events and post historic photos on their social media sites. And in collaboration with the Downtown Organization, plans are in the works to have the Fiesta flags fly on State Street for an extended period of time.

"I applaud the creative ideas put forth by the Old Spanish Days Board and appreciate that they are putting the health and safety of our community first,” said Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo. “I will continue to support their efforts and look forward to participating in the reimagined program."

Information about the Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta as well as other creative ideas to bring the community together while staying apart, are also being worked out and will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Fiesta will look different this year”, said El Presidente Davis. “But we will do our very best to honor our history, maintain our traditions and celebrate our Santa Barbara story together. Viva la 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. Additional information can be found online at www.sbfiesta.org