Fiesta board cites concerns over increase in COVID-19 cases
The Old Spanish Days Board of Directors announced Thursday that the iconic Mercado de la Guerra has been canceled.
Citing concerns about the spike of COVID-19 cases in the region associated with the Delta variant, the board made the decision to cancel the event.
In a statement, Fiesta La Presidenta Stephanie Petlow said this was a very “difficult decision,” but a necessary one to keep the community safe.
“We are concerned about our families, grandparents, children, and visitors in the community and we want to make sure everyone remains healthy,” Mrs. Petlow wrote in a statement. “Mercado is important to all of Santa Barbara as a backbone of Fiesta, providing memorable moments for our families, visitors, and friends, stages for our dance groups, and a platform for the nonprofits.”
“The Mercados are the heart of Fiesta; however, based on the spike of the COVID-19 Delta Variant cases and based on our extensive review with health officials, it is important that we keep our families, visitors, and community safe.”
A favorite among Fiesta attendees, El Mercado de la Guerra featured live music performances, food vendors and a variety of booths from local nonprofits.
To support the nonprofits that were signed up to participate in the Mercado, Mrs. Petlow said Old Spanish Days will post a list of nonprofits on its Facebook page and encourage the public to donate online.
Despite the cancellation of the Mercado, Ms. Petlow said the staff at Old Spanish Days is looking forward to a vibrant week of events and expects an exciting return of the Mercado in 2022.
“We’re just looking forward to everyone enjoying Fiesta, spending time with family, eating at the different restaurants, just rallying together and continuing to have a good Fiesta spirit,” Ms. Petlow told the News-Press Thursday.
The Fiesta is set for Aug. 4-8. For more information, go to www.sbfiesta.org.