2020 Honorary Presidentes & Presidentas Announced

Posted Jul 05, 2020

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.

"One of the privileges of being El Presidente is getting the opportunity to recognize and thank those who have been a part of my Fiesta journey, many who have been an integral part of Fiesta over the years," said El Presidente Erik Davis. "I thank my wife, Angelique, for her love and support and am proud to salute and thank the Honorary Presidentes and Presidentas of Fiesta 2020."

Hugh P. Davis (1938-2016), Erik’s dad, was his role model.  He was known for his integrity, humor, mentorship and community involvement.  After a nearly 25 year career with the YMCA, Hugh served on the board of directors for the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission and Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County. Hugh helped organize the annual Community Prayer Breakfast and will always be remembered for his tireless work on the YMCA Good Friday Breakfast which he started in 1978.

Dianne Davis, Erik’s mom, is a long-time community service leader.  She has served on the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission Auxiliary for over 20 years and served as President and decorations chair for the annual “Back to the Bayou” event.  She is a member of the Assistance League of Santa Barbara and has held many offices. She has also served on Fiesta’s La Recepción del Presidente committee. 

Dr. Bill Springer, Erik’s father in law, lives in Leander Texas.  He retired from the University of Texas at El Paso after 45+ years teaching Philosophy.  Bill is fluent in several languages and is an avid storyteller.  He will turn 90 on August 7, Fiesta Friday. 

Solange Springer, Erik’s mother in law, lives in Leander Texas.  She is a retired business owner and one of Erik’s biggest fans.  

Geoff Grow is a long-time friend and “behind the scenes” Fiesta volunteer. He is the founder and CEO of Service Objects, a Santa Barbara based company that provides validation for online transactions.

Kathy Baron is a long-time friend and veterinarian who worked at Noah's Ark Veterinary Clinic and the Santa Barbara Humane Society before her retirement in 2012. Kathy and Geoff met playing beach volleyball at East Beach and married in 1998. Kathy’s favorite festivals include Fiesta and Solstice.

Nancy Callahan, a friend and mentor, began volunteering for Old Spanish Days in 1993, joining the newly formed Fiesta Ambassadors.  She eventually joined the Board of Directors and became the Chair of the Bienvenidos committee, leading 20+ volunteers who greet locals and visitors during Fiesta. 

John Palminteri, a friend, mentor and inspiration has been covering Old Spanish Days for nearly 40 years for TV, radio, print and many social media sites. His broadcasts can be heard and seen on KEYT NewsChannel 3, KCOY NewsChannel 12, KKFX Fox 11, KCLU and KJEE.  John is a mainstay of Fiesta and his energy and enthusiasm for all things Fiesta is unmatched. It’s hard to do, but his smile gets even bigger the moment he puts on a Fiesta hat and tie and hits the town!

Erin Graffy, a friend and mentor, served on the Old Spanish Days board of directors for over 25 years.  As a Marketing Communications Specialist, she has volunteered her professional services to numerous organizations, and has served on more than thirty different boards, commissions and advisory positions throughout the Santa Barbara community. Erin was the recipient of the KLITE Community Hero Award, the Profant Foundation Michelangelo Award, and The Community Star Award by Catholic Charities. She was named Woman of Achievement by the Santa Barbara Business and Professional Women, and “Citizen Diplomate” by County Kerry, Ireland. As a California regional Historian, Erin has served as the expert on Old Spanish Days and Fiesta history, lecturing and writing extensively on the subject; her publications include the multi-award-winning book, Old Spanish Days: Santa Barbara History.

Erik Davis spent over a decade volunteering on the Old Spanish Days Fiesta Board before being elected as El Presidente. Davis also served as Primer Vice Presidente, Segundo Vice Presidente, Division Chief of External Relations and Education and Public Relations Chair. Davis has led fundraising efforts and has served on the Fiesta Pequeña, El Desfile Historico, parade marshals and History Committees as well as other key Fiesta committees. He is the Executive Director of TV Santa Barbara, a community media access center that broadcasts on Channels 17 and 71.   Previously, Davis worked as the Sr. Director Institutional Advancement and Communications at Pacifica Graduate Institute and served as Vice President of the Pearl Chase Society.  

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