Thinking about Old Spanish Days Fiesta, I am always brought back to memories of the evening festivities outside of the Mission for Fiesta Pequeña. When my children were growing up, Walter and I would round up the family and walk from our house up past Roosevelt Elementary School to the Mission steps to join hundreds of our friends and neighbors gathering outside in celebration.
As night would fall, I’ll always remember Father Virgil welcoming the crowds with his gentle voice. His presence provided a collective sense of belonging, not just in the celebration of Fiesta, but in the overall spirit of Santa Barbara. Father Virgil held a special place in my family’s heart, as he did for so many in Santa Barbara, and Fiesta always ushers in fond memories of his calming presence presiding over the evening’s festivities.
But the memories I treasure most are of watching the joy on the faces of my children and grandchildren throughout the evening as we watched and cheered on the dancers, ate the wonderful food, and cracked colorful cascarones over each other’s heads.
Fiesta is truly a cultural treasure of Santa Barbara. It reminds us of our community’s heritage while bringing generations and neighbors closer together to celebrate.
Rep. Lois Capps is the U.S. Representative for California’s 24th congressional district, serving in Congress since 1998.