The yerba mate will steadily flow and cumbia music proudly bump this Saturday, July 11, at Plaza del Mar on Cabrillo Boulevard from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., when Santa Barbara celebrates its first ever Argentine Festival. Amid the empanadas, choripanes, chimichurri, and rhythmic music from ex-pat band Los Pinguos, attendees will also have a chance to win a trip to Buenos Aires as they raise money for Por Los Chicos, a charity that helps Argentine families in need.
The event’s creator is Gustavo Dabos, who is from Mar De Plata, Argentina, and has lived in Santa Barbara for 15 years. The owner of Santa Barbara Painting Company, Dabos launched the nonprofit Criollos USA as an organization for those who are a mix between those of “European and native Argentinian descent.” He hopes the festival will foster an exchange of Argentine and American culture while satisfying the cravings of second-generation Argentinians who desire a sense of belonging.
The festival was inspired by the crowd of 260 people who gathered at Santa Barbara Brewing Company last summer when Argentina played in the World Cup. The cops had to be called because the room’s maximum capacity was overblown by about 100 people. “The place was filled with twenty-something-year-olds who were all amazed to be part of a group like that,” explained Dabos, who hopes his fest will continue that buzz.
See criollosusa.org for details.