Credit: Fritz Olenberger

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SANTA BARBARA, CA – April 25, 2023 – Old Spanish Days (OSD) in Santa Barbara, Inc. is a 50l(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to honoring and preserving Santa Barbara’s history, spirit, culture, heritage, and traditions. The 99-year-old organization is unique among festivals in that it is run entirely by a volunteer Board of Directors and supported by only one full-time staff member.

The Board of Directors represent a broad cross-section of the community and is responsible for planning and producing over a dozen major events during the week of Fiesta, several fundraising events leading up to week and organizing over 500 other volunteers, participants, and performers.  

In 1924, thirty two letters were sent out to prominent Santa Barbara community members inviting them to serve on the board of directors of the newly-formed “Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara” non-profit organization. Since then, the tradition of volunteer service for the organization has been at the forefront of the community festival.  Led each year by an El Presidente who serves as the CEO, the OSD board works tirelessly behind the scenes, 12 months a year, organizing all aspects of Fiesta for the community to enjoy.  

The board’s fundraising efforts allow Fiesta events to be offered free to the public, and the board’s logistical and operations support provides for great Fiesta events, from dance and entertainment to the Mercados to the equestrian-rich historical parade, El Desfile Historico.

“Our board is dedicated, talented and committed to putting on a safe, fun and memorable Fiesta,” said 2023 El Presidente David Bolton. “Each board member offers a unique skill that, when combined with others, provides the organizational and creative backbone for a successful community Fiesta”

Annually, the organization seeks support from individuals, businesses and foundations and holds fundraisers like the upcoming La Primavera, Fiesta Ranchera, La Recepcion del Presidente and DIGs.  Money raised covers event expenses which primarily consist of insurance coverage, equipment rental, venue costs, city fees, and administration costs.

This year’s board photo was taken on Santa Barbara’s iconic Cabrillo Boulevard, the location of many of the 2023 events like El Desfile Historico (Historical Parade) and the new Mercado de la Playa which will include a carnival, a beer garden, entertainment and vendors.  It is also is the scene of the official 2023 Fiesta commemorative poster.  The poster features a beautiful dancing couple at the foot of Stearns Wharf with Santa Barbara’s waterfront in the background. The scene combines the vibrant colors of Fiesta with the stunning coastal view that is enjoyed by countless locals and visitors alike.  

The community is invited to volunteer, donate, attend a fundraiser or buy a poster to support the organization.  Please visit to find out how you can get involved.

We also invite the public to meet 2023 El Presidente David Bolton, 2023 Spirit of Fiesta Jack Harwood, and  2023 Junior Spirit of Fiesta Olivia Nelson this Saturday, April 29th at the Home Improvement Center at 415 E Gutierrez Street for a poster signing event. 

Old Spanish Days 2023 Board of Directors:

Executive Committee

David Bolton, El Presidente

Brian Schwabecher, El Primer Vice Presidente

Fritz Olenberger, El Segundo Vice Presidente

Colin Hayward, El Secretario y El Tesorero

Division Chiefs

Janice Howell, Celebrations

Patricia Oreña, Dance and Entertainment

Angelique Davis, External Relations, Education & History

Andrea Caplan, Marketplaces

Tony Miller, Pageantry

Maria Cabrera, La Presidente Próxima Pasada


Jana Atherton, Michelle Bischoff, Brian Boyle, Sarah Brewer, Angie Cisneros,Chris Gusman, Casie Killgore, Gary MacDonald, Sean Malis, Judith McCaffrey,Thea Palencia, Matt Porter, Melissa Robledo Pulido, Marge Romero, John Stephens, Diana Vandervoort, Isis Wills-Saltzman, Greg Wilson

Past President Directors
Roger Aceves, Scott Burns, Maria Cabrera, Barbara Carroll, Mike Danley, Erik Davis, Joanne Furnari, Christie Gallagher, JC Gordon, Rhonda Henderson, Josiah Jenkins, Mike Mendoza, Stephanie Petlow, Denise Sanford, Tim Taylor, Chip Wullbrand


Laura Abrignani, Kristina Cabral, Stephanie Coghlan, Elvis Cosio, Chris Cyr, Nina Golding, Malisa Harrison, Tere Jurado, Kate Kubiak, David Moorman, John Morais, Melissa Morelos, Guy Rivera, Brandon Vallin, Jenna Verbryke, Donna Weidl

Fiesta 2023 will take place in various locations around the city starting August 2 to August 6, 2023. First held in 1924, Fiesta celebrates a period of romance and hospitality through pageantry, dance, music, costume and cuisine.   Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation dedicated to honoring and preserving Santa Barbara’s history, spirit, culture, heritage and traditions. Visit for more information or to make a tax-deductible donation. 


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