Old Spanish Days Fiesta 2020 has been deafeningly quiet due to COVID-19.
The pandemic has precluded the usual crowded celebration from happening, with Friday’s canceled Fiesta Caravan Parade making it even quieter. However, around town remains the odd reminder of the annual festival keeping the spirit of Fiesta alive.
Several locations around town, such as the Santa Barbara Mission, the American Riviera Bank, Shoreline Drive condominiums, and Chad’s Restaurant on Cabrillo Boulevard have hung red and gold banners with the Fiesta poster in recognition of Santa Barbara’s annual celebration. While taking a walk up or down the State Street promenade, one can see Fiesta colored signs hanging from the lamp posts.
Under normal circumstances, State Street around this time would be crowded with street and sidewalk vendors, many selling multi-colored cascarones for festival goers to break and release confetti from. There’s just one cascarone on State Street this year, a 4-foot tall one wearing a facemask chained to a bike pole on the 700 block of State Street.
In addition to two signs requesting passersby to not touch the egg, the big cascarone also has signs encouraging them to donate a dollar for every four pictures they take of it. Its fourth cardboard sign reads “Viva La Fiesta 2020.”
Originally scheduled for Friday, the Fiesta Caravan Parade featuring classic and decorated cars traveling on a 19-mile route around town with police escort was canceled in compliance with the orders of county and city officials. Though spectators of the car parade were encouraged to wave at the caravan from the comfort of their homes, local officials told Old Spanish Days that the event could encourage groups of people to gather in groups along the parade route, violating the orders of the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
Not to let the day go to waste, Old Spanish Days decided to scale back its official parade even more by having a few people from the organization travel about town on a trolley and wave to the public as it passed by. The News-Press spotted the trolley crossing State Street on Cota Street Friday afternoon.