The Must-Have Guide to a Memorable Fiesta

Celebrating Old Spanish Days

Credit: Fritz Olenberger

The Santa Barbara Independent’s Old Spanish Days guide is here to help you make the most of your celebration ​— ​from tours of the Old Mission and the courthouse to the authentic food and drink offered at the mercados and Guadalupe Church to passionate dance performances, festive parades, and more. In this special section, Tyler Hayden introduces you to this year’s important Fiesta figures including La Presidenta Barbara Carroll; Spirit and Junior Spirit, Sophia Cordero and Paloma Valenzuela, respectively; Saint Barbara Debra Fedaleo;  and Los Vaqueros of the El Desfile Histórico (Historical Parade) and area ranchers John and Brandy Branquinho. The Independent is proud to highlight a meaningful tradition that continues to showcase our history, culture, and spirit of hospitality that will make you want to celebrate with us year after year.

¡Bienvenido, quédate un rato, y viva la fiesta!

Fiesta Historical Parade 2019
Get to Know This Year’s Fiesta Luminaries
Cover Story | Fiesta Photos and Memories
Old Spanish Days Fiesta 2019 Trivia Quiz


Viva la Old Spanish Days Fiesta 2019: The Complete Guide to Fiesta 2019

Wednesday 7/31

Courthouse Fiesta Tours | daily
Meet in the Mural Room for a guided tour of this Moorish-Spanish building. Tours happen every 30 minutes. 10am-3pm. S.B. County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St. Free. Call 962-6464.

Project Fiesta: A History of Old Spanish Days | daily
In celebration of the 95 years of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, explore this spectacular exhibition to discover the origins and experience the pageantry and traditions of this most cherished cultural festival through displays of beautiful restored costumes, posters, artwork, artifacts, and historical photos. 10am-5pm. S.B. Historical Museum, 136 E. De la Guerra St. Free; donations accepted. Call 966-1601. sbhistorical.org

Photo: Fritz Olenberger

S.B. Mission Docent Tours | daily
Trained docents will lead a special tour of the Queen of the Missions. 11am and 1:30pm. Old Mission S.B., 2201 Laguna St. Free-$16. Call 682-4713.

El Mercado de la Guerra | daily
Feast on Spanish and Mexican-American foods, shop for crafts and souvenirs, and enjoy live entertainment, all while strolling through this colorful Mexican market. 11am-11pm. De la Guerra Plaza, first block of E. De la Guerra St. Free.

El Mercado del Norte | daily
Enjoy Fiesta foods, souvenirs at the Fiesta Bazaar, rides and attractions at the Fiesta Carnival, and ice-cold drinks and live entertainment at the Crazy Horse Cantina. The purchase of a wristband gets you unlimited rides. 11am-11pm. Mackenzie Park, State St. and Las Positas Rd. Admission: free; wristband: $30.

Official Opening and Ribbon Cutting for Fiesta 2019!
Join local dignitaries as they celebrate the beginning of this annual celebration. 10:45am. De la Guerra Plaza, first block of E. De la Guerra St. Free.

Crazy Horse Cantina
This cantina inside El Mercado del Norte features a beer garden with live entertainment at night and is host during the day to Fiesta’s battle-of-the-bands competition. 11am-10:30pm. El Mercado del Norte, Mackenzie Park, State St. and Las Positas Rd. Free. Ages 21+ after 5pm.

Casa Cantina
This annual Mexican-style cantina invites all to relax, sip a cold drink, and celebrate at the home of Fiesta with proceeds going toward the S.B. Trust for Historic Preservation. Noon-midnight. Casa de la Guerra, 15 E. De la Guerra St. Free-$15. Ages 21+. Call 965-0093. sbthp.org/casacantina

La Fiesta Pequeña
Experience “Little Fiesta” with traditional songs and dance from the Californios ​— ​flamenco, Spanish classical, and Mexican folklórico ​— ​as they have been performed since 1927. There will also be special performances by the 2019 Spirit and Junior Spirit. 8pm. Old Mission S.B., 2201 Laguna St. Free.

Photo: Fritz Olenberger

Thursday 8/1

Courthouse Fiesta Tours | daily
Meet in the Mural Room for a guided tour of this Moorish-Spanish building. Tours happen every 30 minutes. 10am-3pm. S.B. County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St. Free. Call 962-6464.

La Misa del Presidente
Community members of all faiths are welcome to enjoy High Mass followed by a festive reception in the mission’s Sacred Garden to celebrate the longstanding relationship between the Old Mission and Old Spanish Days, as well as the entire Fiesta community. 10am. Old Mission S.B., 2201 Laguna St. Free. Call 682-4713.

Project Fiesta: A History of Old Spanish Days | daily
In celebration of the 95 years of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, explore this spectacular exhibition to discover the origins and experience the pageantry and traditions of this most cherished cultural festival through displays of beautiful restored costumes, posters, artwork, artifacts, and historical photos. 10am-5pm. S.B. Historical Museum, 136 E. De la Guerra St. Free; donations accepted. Call 966-1601. sbhistorical.org

S.B. Mission Docent Tours | daily
Trained docents will lead a special tour of the Queen of the Missions. 11am and 1:30pm. Old Mission S.B., 2201 Laguna St. Free-$16. Call 682-4713.

Photo: Fritz Olenberger

El Mercado de la Guerra | daily
Feast on Spanish and Mexican-American foods, shop for crafts and souvenirs, and enjoy live entertainment, all while strolling through this colorful Mexican market. 11am-11pm. De la Guerra Plaza, first block of E. De la Guerra St. Free.

El Mercado del Norte | daily
Enjoy Fiesta foods, souvenirs at the Fiesta Bazaar, rides and attractions at the Fiesta Carnival, and ice-cold drinks and live entertainment at the Crazy Horse Cantina. The purchase of a wristband gets you unlimited rides. 11am-11pm. Mackenzie Park, State St. and Las Positas Rd. Admission: free; wristband: $30.

Crazy Horse Cantina
This cantina inside El Mercado del Norte features a beer garden with live entertainment at night and is host during the day to Fiesta’s battle-of-the-bands competition. 11am-10:30pm. El Mercado del Norte, Mackenzie Park, State St. and Las Positas Rd. Free. Ages 21+ after 5pm.

Casa Cantina
This annual Mexican-style cantina invites all to relax, sip a cold drink, and celebrate at the home of Fiesta with proceeds going toward the S.B. Trust for Historic Preservation. Noon-midnight. Casa de la Guerra, 15 E. De la Guerra St. Free-$15. Ages 21+. Call 965-0093. sbthp.org/casacantina

S.B. Special Mission Treasures Tour
Learn about some of Old Mission S.B.’s most precious treasures, magnificent architecture, and beautiful and historical artworks in areas not normally open to the public, including the Archive Library! 2:30pm. Old Mission S.B., 2201 Laguna St. $25. Ages 12+. Call 682-4713.

DIGS! Celebración de los Dignatarios
Enjoy fare from the Central Coast’s finest eateries and the best wines and tequilas to pair with it before you dance to the sounds of DJ Hecktik as the sun sets. All-in-one pricing includes admission, drinks, and food. 5-10pm. S.B. Zoo, 500 Niños Dr. $125-$150. Ages 21+. Call 962-5339. sbzoo.org

Professional Bull Riders (PBR) 
The nation’s top riders and brave cowboys risk it all in thrilling eight-second rides and jaw-dropping wrecks against animal athletes that can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. 7pm. Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real. $25-$40. Call 688-5093. sbfiestarodeo.org

Las Noches de Ronda (Nights of Gaiety)
More than 200 performers will create an evening of dance and song, from flamenco to Mexican folklórico. Bring blankets and chairs for lawn seating. 8pm. Sunken Gardens, S.B. County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St. Free.

Photo: Fritz Olenberger

Friday 8/2

Courthouse Fiesta Tours | daily
Meet in the Mural Room for a guided tour of this Moorish-Spanish building. Tours happen every 30 minutes. 10am-3pm. S.B. County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St. Free. Call 962-6464.

Project Fiesta: A History of Old Spanish Days | daily
In celebration of the 95 years of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, explore this spectacular exhibition to discover the origins and experience the pageantry and traditions of this most cherished cultural festival through displays of beautiful restored costumes, posters, artwork, artifacts, and historical photos. 10am-5pm. S.B. Historical Museum, 136 E. De la Guerra St. Free; donations accepted. Call 966-1601. sbhistorical.org

S.B. Mission Docent Tours | daily
Trained docents will lead a special tour of the Queen of the Missions. 11am and 1:30pm. Old Mission S.B., 2201 Laguna St. Free-$16. Call 682-4713.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercado
Enjoy a wide array of authentic Mexican cuisine and entertainment. 11am-9pm. Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, 227 N. Nopal St. (corner of Nopal and Montecito sts.). Free.

Photo: Fritz Olenberger

El Mercado de la Guerra | daily
Feast on Spanish and Mexican-American foods, shop for crafts and souvenirs, and enjoy live entertainment, all while strolling through this colorful Mexican market. 11am-11pm. De la Guerra Plaza, first block of E. De la Guerra St. Free.

El Mercado del Norte | daily
Enjoy Fiesta foods, souvenirs at the Fiesta Bazaar, rides and attractions at the Fiesta Carnival, and ice-cold drinks and live entertainment at the Crazy Horse Cantina. The purchase of a wristband gets you unlimited rides. 11am-11pm. Mackenzie Park, State St. and Las Positas Rd. Admission: free; wristband: $35.

Crazy Horse Cantina
This cantina inside El Mercado del Norte features a beer garden with live entertainment at night and is host during the day to Fiesta’s battle-of-the-bands competition. 11am-10:30pm. El Mercado del Norte, Mackenzie Park, State St. and Las Positas Rd. Free. Ages 21+ after 5pm.

Casa Cantina
This annual Mexican-style cantina invites all to relax, sip a cold drink, and celebrate at the home of Fiesta with proceeds going toward the S.B. Trust for Historic Preservation. Noon-midnight. Casa de la Guerra, 15 E. De la Guerra St. Free-$15. Ages 21+. Call 965-0093. sbthp.org/casacantina

El Desfile Histórico (The Historical Parade)
This year marks the 95th anniversary of the Fiesta Historical Parade, one of the largest equestrian parades in the U.S., featuring more than 600 horses as well as floats depicting episodes from the city and state, dancers, and antique carriages, coaches, and wagons. The parade starts at the west end of Cabrillo Boulevard, proceeds east along the beach to State Street, and then goes up State Street to Sola Street. Noon. Free; reserved seating: $20-$50.

Flor y Canto (Flower and Song)
Interwoven with historical narration, Spanish California dances and songs of the 19th century will be performed by area residents in authentic costumes. Bring a picnic dinner and blankets for lawn seating. 7pm. Sunken Gardens, S.B. County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St. Free. Call 962-6464.

2019 Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo riders will compete in bronc and bull riding, tie-down roping, steer stopping, team roping and penning, WPRA barrel racing, and a stock horse class. 7:30pm. Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real. $15-$25. Call 688-5093. sbfiestarodeo.org

Las Noches de Ronda (Nights of Gaiety)
More than 200 performers will create an evening of dance and song, from flamenco to Mexican folklórico. Bring blankets and chairs for lawn seating. 8pm. Sunken Gardens, S.B. County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St. Free.

Photo: Fritz Olenberger

Saturday 8/3

89th Annual Desfile de los Niños (Children’s Parade)
The young people of Santa Barbara, their parents, and other parade participants will don traditional costumes and celebrate the rich culture of the area. Ice cream is provided for participants. The parade will go down State Street from Victoria Street to Ortega Street. 10am. Free. Call 564-5418.

Courthouse Fiesta Tours | daily
Meet in the Mural Room for a guided tour of this Moorish-Spanish building. Tours happen every 30 minutes. 10am-3pm. S.B. County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St. Free. Call 962-6464.

Fiesta Arts & Crafts Show
Browse for handmade treasures created by artisans as you stroll along the beautiful beachfront. 10am-6pm. Cabrillo Blvd., west of Stearns Wharf. Free.

Project Fiesta: A History of Old Spanish Days | daily
In celebration of the 95 years of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, explore this spectacular exhibition to discover the origins and experience the pageantry and traditions of this most cherished cultural festival through displays of beautiful restored costumes, posters, artwork, artifacts, and historical photos. 10am-5pm. S.B. Historical Museum, 136 E. De la Guerra St. Free; donations accepted. Call 966-1601. sbhistorical.org

S.B. Mission Docent Tours | daily
Trained docents will lead a special tour of the Queen of the Missions. 10:30am and 2pm. Old Mission S.B., 2201 Laguna St. Free-$16. Call 682-4713.

Crazy Horse Cantina
This cantina inside El Mercado del Norte features a beer garden with live entertainment at night and is host during the day to Fiesta’s battle-of-the-bands competition. 11am-10:30pm. El Mercado del Norte, Mackenzie Park, State St. and Las Positas Rd. Free. Ages 21+ after 4pm.

Casa Cantina
This annual Mexican-style cantina invites all to relax, sip a cold drink, and celebrate at the home of Fiesta with proceeds going toward the S.B. Trust for Historic Preservation. Noon-midnight. Casa de la Guerra, 15 E. De la Guerra St. Free-$15. Ages 21+. Call 965-0093. sbthp.org/casacantina

El Mercado de la Guerra | daily
Feast on Spanish and Mexican-American foods, shop for crafts and souvenirs, and enjoy live entertainment, all while strolling through this colorful Mexican market. 11am-11pm. De la Guerra Plaza, first block of E. De la Guerra St. Free.

Photo: Fritz Olenberger

El Mercado del Norte | daily
Enjoy Fiesta foods, souvenirs at the Fiesta Bazaar, rides and attractions at the Fiesta Carnival, and ice-cold drinks and live entertainment at the Crazy Horse Cantina. The purchase of a wristband gets you unlimited rides. 11am-11pm. Mackenzie Park, State St. and Las Positas Rd. Admission: free; wristband: $35.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercado
Enjoy a wide array of authentic Mexican cuisine and entertainment. 11am-9pm. Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, 227 N. Nopal St. (corner of Nopal and Montecito sts.) Free.

Tardes de Ronda (Afternoon of Gaiety)
This afternoon of dances and songs from various Mexican regions features performers ages 16 and younger. 1-5pm. Sunken Gardens, S.B. County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St. Free.

24th Annual S.B. Mariachi Festival
This year’s festival, featuring Aida Cuevas, Shaila Dúrcal, Ángela Aguilar, Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar, Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, and Mariachi Aztlán, invites you to experience the heart and soul of mariachi. 5:30pm. S.B. Bowl, 1122 N. Milpas St. $75-$160. Call 962-7411. sbbowl.com

2019 Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo riders will compete in bronc and bull riding, tie-down roping, steer stopping, team roping and penning, WPRA barrel racing, and a stock horse class. 7:30pm. Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real. $15-$25. Call 688-5093. sbfiestarodeo.org

Las Noches de Ronda (Nights of Gaiety)
More than 200 performers will create an evening of dance and song, from flamenco to Mexican folklórico. Bring blankets and chairs for lawn seating. 8pm. Sunken Gardens, S.B. County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St. Free.

Las Fiesta Weekend Pancake Breakfast
Start the day off with eggs, sausage links, orange juice, and a stack of pancakes. 7am-noon. S.B. Veterans’ Memorial Bldg., 112 W. Cabrillo Blvd. $10. Call 636-7961.

Photo: Fritz Olenberger

Sunday 8/4

Courthouse Fiesta Tours | daily
Meet in the Mural Room for a guided tour of this Moorish-Spanish building. Tours happen every 30 minutes. 10am-3pm. S.B. County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St. Free. Call 962-6464.

Fiesta Car Show 2019
This car show will have more than 250 car entries of all types, food and beer for sale, vendors, live music, and a raffle with all proceeds going toward the Boys & Girls Club of S.B. 10am-4pm. Boys & Girls Club of S.B., 632 E. Canon Perdido St.Free. Call 962-2382 or email info@boysgirls.org. boysgirls.org/fiesta-car-show

Project Fiesta: A History of Old Spanish Days | daily
In celebration of the more than 90 years of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, explore this spectacular exhibition to discover the origins and experience the pageantry and traditions of this most cherished cultural festival through displays of beautiful restored costumes, posters, artwork, artifacts, and historical photos. Noon-5pm. S.B. Historical Museum, 136 E. De la Guerra St. Free; donations accepted. Call 966-1601. sbhistorical.org

Photo: Fritz Olenberger

Fiesta Arts & Crafts Show
Browse for handmade treasures created by artisans as you stroll along the beautiful beachfront. 10am-5pm. Cabrillo Blvd., west of Stearns Wharf. Free.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercado
Enjoy a wide array of authentic Mexican cuisine and entertainment. 11am-9pm. Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, 227 N. Nopal St. (corner of Nopal and Montecito sts.). Free.

S.B. Mission Docent Tours daily
Trained docents will lead a special tour of the Queen of the Missions. 1:30pm. Old Mission S.B., 2201 Laguna St. Free-$16. Call 682-4713.

2019 Fiesta Stock Horse Show & Rodeo: Final Event
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo riders will compete in bronc and bull riding, tie-down roping, steer stopping, team roping and penning, WPRA barrel racing, and a stock horse class. 2pm. Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real. $10-$15. Call 688-5093. sbfiestarodeo.org

West Coast Symphony Orchestra 48th Annual Fiesta Concert
Enjoy an afternoon of beautiful music under the direction of conductor Dr. Michael Shasberger. Bring snacks and lawn chairs or blankets for lawn seating. 3:30pm. Sunken Gardens, S.B. County Courthouse, 1100 Anacapa St. Free.

Fiesta Finale Gala
Wear cocktail attire or your Fiesta outfit one last time to honor Santa Barbara traditions with a gourmet dinner, professional dance performances, dancing to live music, a costume contest, and artwork that comes to life with the recreation of “Spanish Dancer” by Juan Giralt Larin. Proceeds go toward the Profant Foundation for the Arts scholarships. 5:30-9pm. El Paseo Restaurant, 10 El Paseo. $225. Call 705-9179. profantfoundation.org/fiesta-finale

Las Fiesta Weekend Pancake Breakfast
Start the day off with eggs, sausage links, orange juice, and a stack of pancakes. 7am-noon. S.B. Veterans’ Memorial Bldg., 112 W. Cabrillo Blvd. $10. Call 636-7961. ·

Photo: Fritz Olenberger

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