Fiesta Pequeña, Noches de Ronda to be held this year
The June 15 announcement that California ditched its color-coded tier system, capacity limits, social distancing restrictions and mask guidance came with another anticipated announcement from Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara.
First things first. Fiesta Pequeña is back.
It will be held Aug. 4 on the steps of the Santa Barbara Mission, as it traditionally was before the pandemic.
Secondly, Noches de Ronda will return to the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden from Aug. 5 through Aug. 7.
Finally, Tardes de Ronda will be held Aug. 7.
“I think the entire organization is happy that we can do more Fiesta events free of charge for the community,” David Bolton, the 2021 Old Spanish Days El Segundo Vice Presidente, told the News-Press. “It’s a big part of our mission statement — to be able to put on Fiesta for the community and offer as many events as possible free of charge. Fiesta definitely brings excitement to the city, it brings revenue to a lot of businesses, and it really gives our community an outside experience to enjoy dance, music and culture.”
Fiesta Pequeña will be hosted by the Franciscan Friars of Old Mission, per usual, and televised live on KEYT, Channel 3. Montecito Bank and Trust is sponsoring Fiesta Pequeña 2021 with the entire public invited to the evening of music and dance.
“We’re thanking the Franciscan community for allowing us to come back to their home, because the Mission is their home, and being able to put that on again. That’s such a magical event, Fiesta Pequeña,” 2021 La Presidenta Stephanie Petlow told the News-Press.
She said the opening of Fiesta is “very near and dear” to her heart, since her daughter was a dancer many years ago and she herself has been volunteering for the past 20 years.
“It’s been a very wonderful and exciting journey for myself and for my family, and we’re very happy that we’re able to have a more traditional Old Spanish Days this year,” La Presidenta said.
At May 12’s Fiesta press conference, announcements were made according to the rules in place at the time, Mr. Bolton explained. It wasn’t until the details of the June 15 reopening were rolled out from the state that the Old Spanish Days organization knew what events could take place.
When asked about the potential of the return of parades and mercados as well, Mr. Bolton said, “Old Spanish Days is looking at other additional events as we’re able to do other events based on our infrastructure, logistics and permissions. We’re planning to have other announcements coming up as additional events potentially get added and as guidelines change.
“Either way, here in the state of California, parades or mercados have not been announced,” he said.
Ms. Petlow added that she’s hopeful for the return of the parades and mercados this year, but if not, “hopefully next year we can come back full force and bring everything back to the community that we’ve enjoyed for the past 96 years.”
While entry and exit points, temperature checks and capacity limits were predicted for the events back in May, these will no longer be present at Fiesta 2021. There will be no requirement to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination, either.
“We’re receiving a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of excitement throughout the community, both in the public sector as well as our sponsors and business leaders in town,” Mr. Bolton said. “Everybody loves Fiesta, and it’s really going to be special this year after having 15 months of a different life, to be able to experience as much of Fiesta as we’re able to put on.”
While these events will take place in August, many other events are taking place over the next two months, including Fiesta Ranchera from today through Saturday supporting Goleta area restaurants and establishments. Dance groups will be performing in the city all three days, concluding with a finale Saturday at Camino Real Marketplace.
A Fiesta concert series will take place July 30, July 31 and Aug. 7 at the Carriage and Western Art Museum. Then, in August, accompanying the recently announced events returning will be the Arts and Crafts Show along Cabrillo Boulevard, El Presidente Party Sunday at the Carriage and Western Art Museum and the Fiesta Stock Horse Show and Rodeo at Earl Warren Showgrounds.
“We are putting on a lot of our traditional events,” Mr. Bolton said. “I think the community is eager to enjoy Fiesta once again, and we’re proud and honored to be able to present these traditional events in 2021. We just want to recommend that everybody keep safety in mind, enjoy Fiesta and enjoy the traditions of this city as we honor the generations.
“We just ask everyone to have a great time and keep safety in mind, and make 2021 a memorable Fiesta.”