Day Three of eating my way through Fiesta, 2006:
photos by Sue De Lapa As Parade Day dawned it was raining —
raining! Never in all my years here has it ever pelted down on this
special day in August. Blazing hot, scorching, yes.
By mid-morning the skies had turned to mist. But by noon, when
it was time to mount up at Pershing Park, it had warmed up. I
doffed my jacket and Sue and I climbed aboard.
But my steed, Bailey, decided that he didn’t care to walk the
streets. We struggled. He refused to get anywhere near the starting
line on Cabrillo Boulevard. It was time to go. But I had no choice
but to ride him back to the parking lot – Bailey did this quite
Then I mounted a lovely horse named
Dominique. We had a good time, riding along next to Sue on M.C. It
was a thrill to ride in the Fiesta parade, although when you’re
riding you don’t see much of it. The view in front never
Amid all the problems of the town and world, it was great fun to
see the sea of smiling faces all along the route. Somehow, hundreds
of examples of superb horseflesh found their positions and paraded
up State, either with riders of pulling wagons. Two of the best on
four legs were matched mules from the Santa Ynez Valley, with the
longest ears I’ve ever seen on a mule.
I’d heard that it was the largest equestrian parade in the
nation, but Wayne Powers, for 20 years the Fiesta parade horse
honcho, told me that it was “one of” the largest. Who’s
One of the visiting riders, with a group from Santa Monica,
said, “It’s our favorite parade,” partly because the onlookers are
And what a cool day. Then it was time
to eat. Equestrians get to chow down at the Horseman’s Rendezvous
in the Carriage Museum patio near where we parked our horses. I
walked the buffet line, staffed by folks from Santa Barbara Elks
Club 613. Tanda Jennings was forking over slabs of tri-tip and
barbecued half-chickens. Ronnie Sumpter was scooping up spicy
beans, Amelia Pino handed out tortillas and Socorro Lopez staffed
the salad bowl.
Who was trusted with spooning out the salad dressing?
Seven-year-old Sophie Hurtado.
Mariachis were piping out brassy tunes and a chorus line of
women was mixing gallons of margaritas. Over at the bar, Bill
Higbee was presiding as bartender as Sue and I strolled over.
Someone yelled, “No checks!”
It was big Elk Gil Alonzo, Sue’s softball coach from years past.
So I used a drink ticket instead of writing a check. (Fiesta can’t
be too careful with deadbeats, I guess.)
I’d have to say it was my best barbecue of the young Fiesta. My
tasting will continue with my favorite culinary treat of Fiesta
Saturday: The Downtown Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast at Alameda
Park, 7 a.m. until noon. All the flapjacks you can eat for $6. Plus
sausage, coffee, milk and orange juice.
I’ll be flipping the pancakes, as usual, eating as many as I