Joanne Funari moved to Santa Barbara with her husband and son 20 years ago and has spent the last 18 volunteering and working with Old Spanish Days on La Fiesta. During her tenure, she joined the Board of Directors in 2000, becoming the Vice President of Celebrations on the Executive Board in 2005, and finally, in 2009, becoming the Segundo Vice Presidenta, before welcoming us to La Fiesta in 2011 as La Presidenta.
Funari's work in the finance and banking industry is even more extensive than her Fiesta involvement; she is a founder and president of Business First Bank and has nearly 30 years of extensive banking education and experience.
This year, La Presidenta has chosen “Celebrate Santa Barbara” as the theme of the Fiesta. Not only is it the 87th anniversary of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, but 2011 also marks the 225th birthday of the Santa Barbara Mission. Celebrating Santa Barbara extends beyond that, however. Funari's theme is, at heart, one that commemorates Santa Barbara’s heroes, especially the police officers and firefighters, for their selfless service in the wake of the recent wildfires. “Celebrate Santa Barbara” is to encourage the community to come together in celebration and in memoriam of the times we unite in emergency and need.