“10 … 9 … 8 .. 7..”
The audience in De la Guerra Plaza enthusiastically counted down late Wednesday morning with La Presidente Maria Cabrera and Mayor Pro Tem Meagan Harmon and a stage full of dignitaries until the moment Mrs. Cabrera and Ms. Harmon cut the ribbon with giant scissors.
“Viva la Fiesta!” La Presidente Maria Cabrera yelled, standing next to her husband — Francisco Cabrera, the honorary presidente — and Spirit of the Fiesta Tara Mata.
And with that, the first full-fledged Old Spanish Days since 2019 began in Santa Barbara.
Before the ribbon cutting, La Presidente Cabrera addressed an audience that would keep growing during a day full of very rhythmic dancing and consistently upbeat music in a plaza full of food booths and smiles.
The crowd’s enthusiasm would grow as the day continued, following the tone for Fiesta set by La Presidente Cabrera.
“We are here today because it’s a special day, and it’s a special place,”Mrs. Cabrera said before introducing Old Spanish Days board members, officers and team members; Ms. Mata, Junior Spirit Layla Gocong, Mayor Pro Tem Harmon and Santa Barbara City Council members Oscar Gutierrez and Kristen Sneddon. Standing in front of the stage was former El Presidente Erik Davis.
After La Presidente Cabrera spoke, Mayor Pro Tem Harmon expressed her happiness at being on the stage during the first El Mercado De la Guerra since 2019.
“Mayor Randy Rowse couldn’t join us today, but asked me to say a few words and send all of you the warmest wishes from him and the entire city council,” Ms. Harmon said.
“I can’t help but think about the theme of Fiesta that you spoke about yesterday — family, seeing so many young faces, seeing my own 7-month-old son Jack with his auntie Diana,” Mayor Pro Tem Harmon told La Presidente Cabrera.
“That’s what Fiesta is all about to me — a connection, an opportunity to celebrate with friends and neighbors and finding joy with each other all across the city, whether it’s here at the Mercado or tonight at Fiesta Pequeña or any of these other events planned by the Old Spanish Days team” Mayor Pro Tem Harmon said Wednesday.
“Our sincere thanks to La Presidente Maria Cabrera and the Old Spanish Days board and team,” she said. “From Mayor Rowse and council members Gutierrez and Sneddon, we wish you a safe and joyous Fiesta.
“We’re so excited to celebrate alongside you in person.
“With that, it’s time to cut the ribbon!”
Then the countdown began, and with the ribbon cut, the spirit of Old Spanish Days soared freely.