As a third-generation Santa Barbara resident, I am disappointed in Old Spanish Days. My family and I love Fiesta. We love to watch the beautiful dancers. The most special dancers of all are the Spirit and Junior Spirit. Since 1958, whenever they performed, they wore their traditional, beautiful, solid white Spanish dresses. Last year, 12 past Spirits of Fiesta danced alongside the Old Spanish Days Rose Parade entry, creating a sea of lovely white and making Santa Barbara proud of its history and tradition.
Unfortunately, that tradition came to an end last month. A May 15 front page News-Press story celebrating La Primavera, Fiesta’s first event of the year, pictured the Spirit of Fiesta dancing not in the traditional white dress but in a teal outfit to match this year’s Fiesta theme: Santa Barbara, the Coastal Frontier. Although the theme has little to do with “Fiesta,” it should not dictate a change to a tradition that has been in place since 1958! Reading further, I was shocked to learn that the wife of the current El Presidente JC Gordon made the change.
Today on Facebook, the Spirit was seen dancing in the same teal dress in front of the Goleta City Council promoting the upcoming Fiesta Ranchera event. Hopefully Goleta City Council member and past el presidente Roger Aceves will stand on tradition and rein in the new El Presidente and his wife before they permanently damage the lovely tradition of the Spirit and her beautiful white dress!
Editor’s Note: The Independent has subsequently learned that it is not until Fiesta Pequeña ceremoniously opens the Old Spanish Days celebrations that the Spirits’ white dresses are revealed.