This year’s Fiesta season kicked off last Sunday with the Fiesta Primavera Party held in the courtyard of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. The party is an opportunity to raise money to finance other Fiesta events as well as to unveil the annual Fiesta Poster and Pin, designed by current El Presidente Ricardo Castellanos.
This year marks the 88th celebration and the first year that the Primavera Party was hosted at the museum. The intent, according to the Castellanos, was to put attendees back in touch with their historic roots and the traditional aspects of Fiesta. Accordingly, he chose to use the Old Spanish Days crest emblazoned with his Fiesta theme, “Viva La Familia,” for this year’s pin.
This year’s poster, selected by Castellanos, originally debuted in 1953 and depicts a dancing couple, represented by performers José Manero and Kay Chapman. The poster features one of the most enduring images of Fiesta and was revamped this year by local artists Richard and Olive Smith.
Over 300 attendees, decked out in Spanish and Western wear, came out to enjoy the mariachi band, Catering Connections fare, plenty of margaritas, and — most importantly — to honor their heritage.
For party-goer and nephew of El Presidente Eddie Castellanos, the event is about paying homage to the past as well as reconnecting with the community.
“I like this part of Fiesta because it helps us remember the older, more traditional ways of doing things and try to integrate that into modern times,” she said. “But it’s also a time when my family comes in from all over, and we can celebrate our family and tradition together.”
Fiesta 2012 begins Wednesday, August 1 and runs through August 5. Other pre-Fiesta events include Fiesta Ranchera on June 21, the Costume Sale on July 14, and the Recepción del Presidente on July 29. The majority of Fiesta events are free and open to the public.