From left, Amanda Cuevas, Isabella Ricci, 2023 Spirit of Fiesta Jack Harwood, Eve Flores, and Ashlyn McCollum. | Photo: Ingrid Bostrom.

Setting the tone for what turned out to be one of Santa Barbara’s most innovative Fiesta celebrations in memory, as Camilla Barnwell wrote in last week’s cover story, “Fiesta Flips the Script on the Cusp of 100th Anniversary,” “On the cusp of Fiesta’s 100th anniversary, the most hide-bound, traditionalist organization in town has given us our first male Spirit and our first openly gay Presidente.” 

But that was just the beginning. The two parades, El Desfile Histórico and El Desfile de los Niños settled nicely into their new home along the waterfront, with revelers flocking to take in the ocean view festivities on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Also appreciative of the cool ocean breezes were patrons at the new El Mercado de la Playa, as the former Mercado del Norte moved from its longtime uptown MacKenzie Park location to the parking lot at Santa Barbara City College’s La Playa Stadium. 

From left, Junior Spirit of Fiesta Olivia Nelson, El Presidente David Bolton, Primer Caballero Gonzalo Sarmiento, and Spirt of Fiesta Jack Harwood at La Fiesta Pequeña, August 2, 2023 | Photo by Ingrid Bostrom

In case you missed out on any of the festivities, here are links to the Independent’s Old Spanish Days coverage from this past week. 

Fiesta 2023 Luminaries Get to Know This Year’s Fiesta Luminaries: El Presidente, the Spirits, Saint Barbara, and El Desfile Histórico Grand Marshal.

Fiesta Is Back in Santa Barbara with Carnival and Cultural Delights Old Spanish Days’ 99th Anniversary celebrates local history.

Old Mission Reception and Fiesta Pequeña Make for a Magical Evening Fiesta Pequeña kicked off Fiesta 2023 with a spectacular show of dance and song on the breathtakingly beautiful stage of the Old Mission Santa Barbara, lit up in all its splendor. Prior to the show, Old Mission SB hosted a lovely reception in its idyllic Sacred Garden for 175 VIPs and supporters of the Mission and of Old Spanish Days of SB, the nonprofit that puts on Fiesta.

La Fiesta Pequeña Puts Santa Barbara in a Celebratory Mood! This “little Fiesta” is a very big deal for Santa Barbara. 

S.B. Digs Brings an Uncaged Night of Fun to the Santa Barbara Zoo It wasn’t just another wild night at the zoo — it was Fiesta’s wildest party.

At Age 99, Santa Barbara’s Historical Fiesta Parade Doesn’t Skip a Beat Santa Barbara loves a good parade, which was evidenced by the thousands of people who flocked to the waterfront to see the 99th annual El Desfile Histórico along Cabrillo Boulevard on Friday, August 4. 

El Desfile de los Niños (Old Spanish Days’ Children’s Parade) Charms Once Again With a flair for fun, Fiesta’s youngest revelers bring on the joy.

Long live the party! We’ll be back next year to celebrate Fiesta’s 100th anniversary, in whatever new — and old — forms it may take.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.