Santa Barbara will have a complete Fiesta this summer after nearly three years of cancellations and caution due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent rise in variants. Old Spanish Days organizers announced their plans on the steps of City Hall on Monday at a press conference attended by Mayor Randy Rowse, city officials, Downtown Organization members, and other Fiesta collaborative partners.
Beginning Wednesday, August 3, Santa Barbara will see the return of the historic parade, both Mercados, and a variety of dances and celebrations throughout the community. August 3 will also be the opening of Mercado De la Guerra, Mercado del Norte at McKenzie Park, and Fiesta Pequeña.
In 2021, the organization Old Spanish Days had planned on continuing on with a full Fiesta, with mandatory masking and social distancing. However, a few hours after that announcement was made, officials decided to cancel many of the public festivities, given the recent spike of the Delta variant.
One major change will be the historic horse parade, which will take place on Friday, August 5. This year, the route for El Desfile Histórico will run the length of Cabrillo Boulevard, instead of the traditional route from Castillo Street to the Hilton Hotel. The temporary parklets set up along State Street forced officials to move the route for the parade.
“After what we have gone through these two past years, we are so excited at Old Spanish Days to be able to bring a full Fiesta to our community,” said 2022 La Presidente Maria Cabrera. “Fiesta is about community, family, and cultural traditions. It’s truly Santa Barbara’s premier festival!”