Over the last two months as Santa Barbara has adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic, locals have anxiously wondered what will happen to Fiesta.
On Thursday, they got their answer.
Fiesta 2020, also known as Old Spanish Days, will hold many of its signature events online, on television or in ways that adhere to social distancing.
“This is not how any of us expected this year to go,” El Presidente Erik Davis said. “But we are all having to adjust and find moments that bring us joy. So while we won’t be gathering like we normally would, the Fiesta Board has adjusted our planning to focus on safe and adaptive ways that will still bring forward the Fiesta spirit and will honor many of our rich traditions.”
Fiesta 2020 will take place August 5 to 9 at 19 venues citywide, and will be a combination of online and televised events as well as adaptive events that the community can participate in from home or their car
No Fiesta events will be held where large crowds could gather, the board announced Thursday.
“With so much still unknown, it’s too big of a risk to hold a large-scale event like Fiesta that will attract thousands of people,” said Mr. Davis. “During these unprecedented times, we believe it’s the right thing to do so that people can adjust their plans and we can move forward and do what we can to make the best of the situation.”
Reimagined events include La Fiesta Pequeña, which will now be a primetime televised event airing on August 5, featuring highlights from past La Fiesta Pequeña events and live commentary from hosts.
The organization also announced plans for a virtual summer concert series called “Fiesta Music & Dance Fridays,” which will feature local bands and highlight restaurants and nonprofits. The final events for the series will be held Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, and will be streamed on the Fiesta Facebook page and on TVSB.
Other plans include virtual interviews, historic footage of past events and Fiesta flags flown on state street for an extended period of time.
The organization is also working on alternative plans for the Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta as well as the El Desfile Historico (Historical Parade), and will provide more information soon.
The Commemorative Fiesta 2020 Poster and Pin, which were unveiled Thursday, are available for purchase on the Old Spanish Days website (sbfiesta.org).
“Fiesta will look different this year”, said Mr. Davis. “But we will do our very best to honor our history, maintain our traditions and celebrate our Santa Barbara story together. Viva la Fiesta.”