Terry Ortega’s Eighth (or Seventh) Fiesta Guide

Our Calendar Editor and Eighth-Generation Santa Barbaran Reflects on Old Spanish Days

Credit: Courtesy

This is my eighth Fiesta Guide I’ve worked on — well, make that the seventh, since last year’s live events were sadly canceled. This issue is my favorite one yet, because it proves how resilient Santa Barbara can be in the face of this pandemic, but also because my amazing and beautiful mama, Mary, is on the cover. Who knew that this stoic and unsure little cowgirl would grow up to be a powerful and strong matriarch and the best mother to my sisters, Nancy and Kathy, and me.

As an eighth-generation native myself, Fiesta was always an important part of my family’s life, and we’re excited to have at least some of the music, dance, food, and spirit of this annual celebration back. It feels like Old Spanish Days, even with modifications, is like coming home. My hope is that we celebrate in a way that’s safe — wear your Fiesta-themed masks! — and be appreciative of our city, our neighbors, and all the visitors who come to experience Santa Barbara’s Fiesta spirit!


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