The Profant Foundation honors generations
The Profant Foundation’s Fiesta Finale Gala shared the Santa Barbara many know and love — even during a time where traditions must be traded for safety.
The finale, held at the historic El Paseo Restaurant, harkened back to the 1960 gala with the Profant tradition of recreating the photo.
Gil Rosas, pictured at the baby grand in the historic photograph, returned to play piano for the 2021 recreation.
An iconic Santa Barbara pianist, Mr. Rosas has kept his rhythm throughout the years, earning him enthusiastic applause.
The sons of another musician in the original photo were in attendance, the Martinez Brothers. They opened and closed the night with music fit for hip-swaying and feet-stomping.
Other performers include: Jessamyn Vedro, Marco Antonio Labastida, the Arthur Murray Dancers, the Santa Barbara Piano Brothers and Ricardo Chavez & Company.
The Arthur Murray Dancers posed for the photograph, just like the dancers 61 years ago.
Musette Profant searched for the posters in the 1960 image, purchased them and hung them on the wall.
The dedication to tradition was apparent from attendees’ Sevilla dresses to the performers.
“We honor what we have held that have been passed on to us and what we will pass on to others, honoring our generations. And this is rich and this is strong,” Father Larry Gosselin of the Saint Barbara Parish said to all attendees.
“This is the Fiesta finale. But this isn’t the finale,” he said. “This is the beginning.”
He offered encouragement to the crowd of multi-generational Santa Barbara residents.
“My brothers and sisters, you are resilient. Do not let this (pandemic, tough times) dissuade us,” he said. “Do not become disappointed or discouraged in any way because we have a spirit that is invincible.”
Although his message to the crowd was heavy, he came to the gala with joy.
He brought a grocery bag of cascarones, or confetti eggs, to christen the heads of his friends with confetti as he chatted throughout the night.
“We are so thrilled everybody showed up for a wonderful party. And we’re hoping that next year, everything in Old Spanish Days is fully functioning, and we can all have a party and wonderful time together,” Musette Profant told the News-Press.
The burden of the pandemic was not lost, as many Fiesta favorites had to wait another year. But, nonetheless, gala attendees were happy to celebrate in whatever ways they could this year.
“I’m still happy we did what we could do in a safe way,” George Leis, President of Montecito Bank & Trust said. “To come here and be here is awesome.”
Amanda and Richard Payatt have volunteered at the gala for years now and always enjoy the festivities.
“I’m so glad we could do this because I had so much pent-up Fiesta to celebrate,” Mrs. Payatt said.
Historic photographs and artwork, like the ones the Foundation loves to recreate, were auctioned off as part of the gala.