Big shows return for this year’s Old Spanish Days
The Fiesta that Santa Barbara knows is back.
There are no parades and, because of the increase in COVID-19 cases, no mercados. But the big shows are returning, and that means everything to young people who dedicate their lives to dancing, to singers who embrace emotions and audiences who love the traditions, the costumes, the history.
You can see all of that in person for the first time in two years. The Fiesta will start Wednesday and run through Aug. 8.
Viva la Fiesta!
The return of in-person shows means audiences can enjoy dancing and singing again at Fiesta Pequeña at the Santa Barbara Mission and Noches de Ronda and Tardes de Ronda at the Sunken Garden at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. And the rodeo, minus some of the programming, is back at Earl Warren Showgrounds.
“I’m really excited. It’s been one of my biggest dreams since I was a little girl (to perform at the mission),” Ysabella Yturralde, the Spirit of Fiesta, told the News-Press. She is a former Junior Spirit.
“To be able to have that second opportunity as Spirit is really a dream come true,” Ysabella said.
She has enjoyed her appearances promoting the Fiesta.
“I like to arrive everywhere with a big smile and a positive attitude,” Ysabella, 16, said. “I really think it’s important to bring optimism and spirit. I think my job is to embody what the Fiesta is about and bring people together.”
Savannah Hoover, the Junior Spirit, shares Ysabella’s enthusiasm.
“I feel so lucky that I’m able to dance in such a beautiful place,” Savannah told the News-Press about the Santa Barbara Mission. “I feel it’s such a beautiful stage. You get to dance in front of all these people, which is amazing. I can’t believe I’m able to do it.”
She’s already proven the heights she’ll go to in performing.
During her Fiesta Ranchera performance at La Patera & Stow House in Goleta, Savannah went airborne during her dancing.
“I didn’t know that I jumped that high,” said Savannah, 9. She realized the extent of her Spirit when she saw News-Press photographer Kenneth Song’s picture of her in the paper.
“What I love about being the Junior Spirit is I’ve already been to so many new places, and I’ve met so many new people,” Savannah said. “I feel so lucky to be representing Old Spanish Days. I feel very honored.”
The Fiesta is bringing smiles from people of all ages.
“It’s very exciting to be able to bring the community back and have these events,” La Presidenta Stephanie Petlow told the News-Press.