Old Spanish Days – Fiesta

Santa Barbara, CA. July 31 - August 4, 2024

2021 Fiesta Returns in a Big Way

Posted Jun 16, 2021

Fiesta Pequeña, Noches de Ronda Among Events Returning This August

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.

2021 Fiesta Returns in a Big Way thumb

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.

“The announcement from Governor Newsome of the Covid-19 restrictions lifting today (June 15, 2021) in California is wonderful news and the Old Spanish Days Board of Directors is pleased to present our 97th annual Fiesta this year with the return of some traditional events this year,” said 2021 Fiesta La Presidenta Stephanie Petlow who was joined for the announcement by Fiesta officials and representatives of the Old Mission. “Our community has been through so much this past year and I know everyone is ready to celebrate our beautiful city's rich traditions, history and culture with our family and friends.”

Fiesta Pequeña will again be hosted by the Franciscan Friars of Old Mission Santa Barbara and will be televised live on KEYT Channel 3. Montecito Bank and Trust is the title sponsor for Fiesta Pequeña 2021, and the public is invited. The evening of music and dance begins at 6:30 pm.

“We are most thankful to the Franciscan community for once again open their home to Old Spanish Days so that La Fiesta Pequeña -- the grand opening of 2021 Fiesta -- can happen at Old Mission Santa Barbara and be enjoyed in person, at home or view via smart device,” said OSD Dance & Entertainment Division Chief Maria Cabrera.

Past El Presidente Scott Burns is co-chair for this year’s Fiesta Pequeña; “It brings our diverse community together as we celebrate our past. The gathering of our community at the Old Mission has such a joyful time.”

OSD board member Janice Howell is Fiesta Pequeña co-chair: La Pequeña will be very special this year after missing this great event last year. La Pequeña being at the Mission again will bring lots of joy, dance, singing and family gatherings again. It promises to be a beautiful event that everyone will truly enjoy.”

Over at the SB County Courthouse, Noches de Ronda has been a community favorite since the 1920’s. For three nights beginning at 8 pm, area dance studios and singers perform to a throng of spectators who sit throughout the grass area of the Sunken Garden. Saturday afternoon, the youngsters take center stage for the popular Tardes de Ronda show.

“Dance and music have been the primary components of social gatherings and celebrations since the Rancho days of the mid-1800s,” said Noches de Ronda Chair Diana Vandervoort. “Though dance and music genres have changed through the years, Noches de Ronda perpetuates the traditions of gathering the community together to celebrate the gaiety and happiness of our wonderful town each year by keeping these customs alive. Noches de Ronda shows were founded in 1929 when the "new" Court House was completed.”

Ms. Vandervoort’s daughter Thea Palencia is the fourth generation of her family to coordinate Noches de Ronda.

“Noches de Ronda represents a rich history of the culture of Santa Barbara including early California dance and music, as well as contemporary flamenco, folklorico traditions, and vocal performances,” said Ms. Palencia. “The show began with only three dance schools participating and now has eighteen flamenco, folklorico, danza Azteca, ballet, ballroom, and salsa schools performing annually. These dance schools thrive partially due to the Fiesta celebration where they have an opportunity to show their skills to audiences at a variety of venues.”

There are many other Fiesta events that will take place over the next two months including:

  • Arts and Crafts Show Saturday, August 7, and Sunday, August 7 along Cabrillo Boulevard
  • El Presidente Party Sunday, August 1 at The Carriage and Western Art Museum
  • Fiesta Stock Horse Show, August 6, 7 and 8 at Earl Warren Show Grounds. Free
  •  A Fiesta Concert Series July 30, July 31 and August 7 at The Carriage and Western Art Museum

Fiesta runs August 4-8 this year. Events and celebrations were announced this past Wednesday and can found at sbfiesta.org.

Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Inc.
P.O. Box 21557 Santa Barbara, CA 93121-1557