Fiesta is a time in Santa Barbara that every local has heard of, experienced, and anticipates every year.
For those who aren’t familiar, Fiesta is a celebration of the Spanish founders of Santa Barbara. The people who helped shape Santa Barbara into the city it is today. They have left us with traditions of beautiful songs, dancing, and music.
There are celebrations and parades alongside the gathering of communities and families. Mercados fill with food, parks with music and rides. All to rejoice in this heritage that’s been passed down to us. Flamenco dancers train for years to become the Spirit of Fiesta. It’s five days of flowing dresses, flowers in our hair, and confetti everywhere. Santa Barbara comes alive and sings. This is when we celebrate our fair city and wear our pride in bold colors!
The feeling is contagious everywhere, even if you don’t join in the festivities. BBQ’s, beach parties, and patios are all filled with tacos and tamales, and maybe a sombrero or two.
Although most of Fiesta is celebrated by the younger generations, the tradition still stands strong. Denise Sanford couldn’t have said it better in the Proclamación de la Presidenta.
“Celebration is a powerful word which means to give thanks, pay tribute, keep, observe, and commemorate. To celebrate our community’s traditions is to honor its history. The celebratory history of our beautiful city dates back to its earliest days. In coming together to celebrate our traditions we strengthen our community and we pay tribute the history of our beautiful city. More than ever our city and community needs strength for we have suffered immeasurable loss and tragedy this year. And whereas celebration is always difficult when we have lost so much in our community; we do so with reverent respect so we can remember and celebrate all we’ve lost and the strength we have shown as we rebuild.”
Fiesta comes but once a year, but Santa Barbara culture is always here.