Santa Barbara festival features music, dancing, cuisine
The Brazilian Cultural Arts Center of Santa Barbara brought back the Brazilian Day Festival on Saturday.
The free Santa Barbara event featured live music, dancers, Brazilian cuisine and more throughout the day at De la Guerra Plaza and nearby Casa de la Guerra.
“It is our third year and our first year in a bigger venue, bringing this to the whole community on a larger scale. We decided recently to go bigger and do something in the park to gather community members and bring Brazilian joy to the community,” said Mariano Silva, CEO of the Brazilian arts center. Mr. Silva is also a professor of Brazilian dance at UCSB.
This event was an opportunity for the entire Santa Barbara community to enjoy the vibrant culture of Brazil.
Mr. Silva talked about what makes that culture distinctive.
“I would say we are extroverts,” he told the News-Press. “We are very welcoming. It is one of the main characteristics of the culture. We are always trying to learn from others and celebrate with everyone.
“What is unique is that we are always open to adjust, to learn and to celebrate,” he continued. “The sense of community is distinctive in Brazil and includes everybody. We like to make a place of diversity become unity. I want to learn from you and celebrate diversity.
“If you don’t look like me, you have something to teach me. That is special about Brazilian culture. We are embracing, and community is the most important part.”
Brazilian Day Santa Barbara featured non-stop entertainment at De la Guerra Plaza and Casa de la Guerra, which included Brazilian bands, dance classes for the community, the Kids Fun Zone, workshops and performances, Samba dancers, the Carnaval Parade, the Brazilian Bikini Fashion Show, local vendors, Brazilian Food and Oakberry acai, a beer garden featuring local brews and a bar offering tropical Brazilian cocktails.
A Brazilian barbecue was provided by the Flavors of Brazil catering and was followed by rice and beans with salad, according to Mr. Silva.
And a free African Brazilian dance class was offered to the community. It was open to everyone with no experience needed.
Mr. Silva described the atmosphere at Saturday’s festival as “very cozy, warm and friendly.”
“I can finally do something nice in the community,” Mr. Silva said. “The community came out with all ages and backgrounds. It felt like a fair.
“My mission is to serve my community that has given me so much. I feel like I have a moral obligation to give back to my community that has embraced me and my culture.”
The community has recognized Mr. Silva for his efforts. Earlier this month, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors presented the Brazilian Cultural Arts Center of Santa Barbara with a resolution recognizing November as Brazilian American Heritage Month.
This honor was presented during the Nov. 1 board’s meeting to Mr. Silva after more than two decades of work bringing the arts and culture of Brazil to Santa Barbara.