Ysabella Yturralde and Savannah Hoover perform at Santa Barbara Harbor
The Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta performed for a group of restaurant go-ers at the Santa Barbara Harbor on Friday afternoon during an event that raised money for both the dancers and the local restaurants.
The event was hosted by “Cork and Fork Radio 805,” which was broadcasting live on KZSB, AM 1290, the News-Press radio station. Members of the public were invited to come out and enjoy lunch and an Old Spanish Days-themed show at the Santa Barbara Harbor.
The crowd gathered outside the building that houses the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and the Salty at the Beach and Chomp on the Rocks restaurants.
Spirit of Fiesta Ysabella Yturralde and Junior Spirit Savannah Hoover performed both solo dances and a routine together on Friday, prompting cheers from the crowd as the pair tapped and twirled in traditional flamenco dresses.
“It just feels so great to finally have something where we all gather, we all can celebrate,” Ysabella told the News-Press. “I’ve really been missing Fiesta.”
Old Spanish Days will take place Wednesday through Aug. 8, but there have been some pre-Fiesta events such as Friday’s radio show.
Drew Wakefield, the host of the “Cork and Fork” radio show, told the News-Press that the event’s goal was to financially support the Spirits and promote local restaurants down by the Harbor. Since January, Mr. Wakefield has held numerous radio shows in support of local restaurants, encouraging listeners to get out and support establishments across Santa Barbara.
“I want to try to get people to come out and be a blessing,” Mr. Wakefield said. “I want people to come out and support our local businesses. Without our local businesses, Santa Barbara would not make it.”
Friday’s show at the Harbor was the second and final show Mr. Wakefield held in support of the Spirits, which culminated in hundreds of dollars donated to off-set the costs associated with being a Spirit dancer during Fiesta season.
Last week, the radio show hosted a show at Joe’s Cafe in support of the Spirits, packing the State Street restaurant with guests.
According to Mr. Wakefield, the Spirits can spend more than $300 on each dress and each pair of shoes, and they are required to pay for their own transportation to each Fiesta event.
Knowing how quickly the expenses can rack up for the girls and their families, Mr. Wakefield decided to raise funds for the Spirits as a way to give back.
“They come, they bless us, we get so much joy out of their dancing out or their spirits … Why don’t we just give them a little something for the effort and kind of help them because we don’t have to pay for them to dance?” he said.
In response to the outpouring of financial support from the community, Ysabelle said she is “incredibly grateful” for anyone willing to donate.
“It really means a lot,” she said. “Because, you know, usually we don’t get fundraising and donations, and we don’t expect it either. And so it’s really, really generous and so, so helpful.”
Local resident and estate specialist Adam McKaig was among the crowd of community members who gathered at the Harbor on Friday in support of local restaurants and the Spirits.
After more than a year and a half of the pandemic, Mr. McKaig told the News-Press events like this are part of an important effort to support the restaurant industry as it begins its recovery.
“After being shut down for such a long time, people (were) drawn into their shelters, and so being able to come back and unite and embrace each other and embrace our communities is very important.”