Spirit of Fiesta Sophia Cordero, La Presidenta Barbara Carroll, and Junior Spirit of Fiesta Paloma Valenzuela | Credit: Gail Arnold

On June 20, about 1,000 guests gathered at Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta for the annual Fiesta Ranchera. Co-hosted by Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara and the Goleta Valley Historical Society, this is always a fun, casual celebration of Old Spanish Days in a beautiful, historic setting.

Guests clad in Western- and Fiesta-style clothes mingled while Tony Ybarra and Band entertained with lively music. Generous tastings were provided by 35 area food and beverage purveyors. Especially tasty were the Ritz-Carlton Bacara’s lamb barbacoa tacos with avocado mousse and Neighbor Tim’s BBQ Catering’s slow-smoked brisket and pulled pork. 

Event Co-chair Tim Aceves shared how this event embodies La Presidenta Barbara Carroll’s theme, Spirit of Community, in that it brings people from the area together to eat, drink, dance, and share the experience of Fiesta.

During the brief program, Carroll welcomed the crowd and thanked the multitude of sponsors. This year’s Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta dazzled the crowd with flamenco performances. Spirit Sophia Cordero has been dancing and participating in Fiesta since the age of two and was the 2017 Santa Barbara Teen Dance Star. She just finished 11th grade at Santa Barbara High School, where she is an AP Honors student and served as ASB Vice President and on Varsity Cheer. Junior Spirit Paloma Valenzuela also has been dancing and participating in Fiesta since age two. She just finished 4th grade at Foothill Elementary. Both she and Cordero study dance at Zermeño Dance Academy.

After the program, Area 51 started the tunes and the dance floor quickly filled.

La Presidenta Carroll is a Santa Barbara native who grew up enjoying Fiesta. She is a former flower girl, a Fiesta volunteer since 1986, and an Old Spanish Days boardmember since 2006. She chose Spirit of Community as her theme because of the way the community comes together in appreciation of our history and culture. According to Carroll, her theme “reflects the spirit of the people who work hard, enjoy life, good food, music, song and dance. Fiesta brings us all together and truly manifests the spirit of our community.”

Carroll is the granddaughter of Bob Carroll, who started RJ Carroll & Sons Plumbing in 1931. She is a civil litigation attorney at Clinkenbeard, Ramsey, Spackman & Clark and is on the board of the S.B. County Bar Foundation.

The Rancho Period that Fiesta celebrates, roughly 1824-1864, was a period of prosperity under Mexican and American rule. During this period, people resided on ranches and cattle raising was the main industry. The people are known for their beauty, friendliness, hospitality, civility of manners, and love for fiestas. Music, dance, and song were integral parts of their lives.

The next official Fiesta event is La Recepcion del Presidente on July 28 at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, followed by a plethora of events between July 31 and August 4. For more info, go to https://oldspanishdays-fiesta.org.

The Goleta Valley Historical Society operates Rancho La Patera & Stow House, which is within the Lake Los Carneros Preserve. Upcoming events include an Old Fashioned Fourth of July and the Music at the Ranch free concert series on Tuesday nights beginning July 9.  For more info, go to http://goletahistory.org.

Send invites to gail@independent.com.

Event Co-chairs Tim Aceves and Gaia Zellet (Goleta Valley Historical Society Public Events Manager)
El Primer Vice Presidente Erik Davis and Division Chief, External Relations Angelique Davis
1989 Spirit of Fiesta Melissa Robledo Pulido, 2018 La Presidenta Denise Sanford, and 2nd VP Stephanie Petlow
Ritz-Carlton Bacara Banquet Chef Tony Franco
Father Larry Gosselin, OFM with Division Chief, External Relations Angelique Davis
Guests enjoy the event.
Guests enjoy the event.
Tony Ybarra and Band


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