Appearing in her scarlet cape and white robe, adorned with a gold crown signifying her nobility, a chalice symbolizing her holiness, and a palm frond, the symbol of a martyr, Saint Barbara walks the streets during Fiesta. It’s a tradition that’s been happening since 1926, when Reina del Mar Parlor No. 126, Native Daughters of the Golden West, first selected and sponsored Saint Barbara to represent the city’s namesake in Old Spanish Days.
Each year, Saint Barbara is chosen from one of its members. This year, 18-year-old Rebecca Dominguez has the honor of representing Saint Barbara in various events throughout Old Spanish Days, making sure the city’s patron saint is honored in a regal and majestic image.
Dominguez has been a Fiesta participant since she was 10 months old, and for the past two years she has been a member of the Native Daughters of the Golden West. Her genealogy connects her deep into old Santa Barbara’s history, as a descendant of several of Santa Barbara’s Presidio families as well as the Aguirre-Pina family of Santa Ynez Chumash Indians. She is also a third-generation Saint Barbara and will be wearing to social events a white mantilla made from the fabric of her mother’s old Saint Barbara gown.
As a part of the selection committee, Mary Louise Days said the committee looks for a member who is active in historic and civic projects, understands the duties, responsibilities, and the honor of the position, and is someone who will present a positive image as the city’s patron saint. Fiesta does not feature a queen or a goddess as many other festivals do. “So, in a way, Saint Barbara represents that type of image; it’s an honor to be selected,” said Days, a former Saint Barbara.
Dominguez will portray Saint Barbara at Fiesta Peque±a, the formal opening of Old Spanish Days on the Mission steps, and will be introduced every evening at the Courthouse Sunken Gardens during Las Noches de Ronda. Additionally, she will lead El Desfile Hist³rico, the Fiesta parade, riding a horse-drawn float in front of her tower made of flowers.