The 2021 Old Spanish Days Fiesta’s Saint Barbara is Patricia Oreña, a six-plus generational Santa Barbaran perfect for this year’s theme of “Honoring Our Generations.”
She was selected by her fellow members of Reina del Mar Parlor No. 126, Native Daughters of the Golden West, for her service to the group and the community.
Ms. Oreña, the parlor’s first vice president, serves as a liaison to Mission Santa Barbara and Old Spanish Days for the parlor. She gives tours of the mission as a docent.
She is the wedding and baptism coordinator at Saint Barbara Parish.
“This is just wonderful to be able to represent the parish. It’s very meaningful to me, very meaningful,” she told the News-Press.
She was emotional seeing the support of her friends, family and clergy (who gave a special blessing).
“To me, it’s just a wonderful, wonderful honor. My family members are just very proud, and my parlor members are also very, very welcoming,” she said.
Thea Palencia and Diana Replogle-Purinton, both past Saint Barbaras, spoke confidently about Ms. Oreña’s ability to perform the duties of her role, which includes: director on the Old Spanish Days board, membership on the Fiesta Pequeña and Noches de Ronda committees, chair of the Misa del Presidente and Spirit Audition committees and announcer of El Desfile Historico.
Her favorite part of the celebration is Fiesta Pequeña because it opens up the festivities. This year, the event will be broadcast live instead of presented in-person.
“It’s been a long year. We’re hoping that COVID will allow us to do a few more of those traditions that we hold close to, for Fiesta,” Ms. Oreña said. “And I will be wherever they ask me to be, whatever we can do this year.”
La Presidenta Stephanie Petlow alluded to surprises coming this year.
“We’re very happy to be able to continue our tradition here in Santa Barbara with new ideas but also hanging tight with our traditions, honoring our generations, honoring our families, honoring our beautiful city of Santa Barbara,” she said.
Old Spanish Days Fiesta will be celebrated Aug. 4-8 across the city (and even into Goleta). The details have yet to be decided as the board watches the public health considerations in the county.
To learn more, go to sbfiesta.org.