Goleta enjoys intimate Fiesta Ranchera
While this year’s Fiesta Ranchera in Goleta wasn’t quite the typical celebration drawing nearly a thousand attendees, the “On the Go” version held Thursday night at Rancho La Patera and Stow House was perhaps even more celebratory and intimate.
The event, organized by Old Spanish Days and the Goleta Valley Historical Society, featured dynamic dance performances by the Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta and the Maria Bermudez Flamenco Performing Arts Studio. The crowd also enjoyed flamenco music played by Tony Ybarra’s band and hors d’oeuvres with a Mexican-Spanish flair.
A proclamation on behalf of the city of Goleta recognized Thursday as Fiesta Ranchera Day.
And Goleta Mayor Pro Tempore James Kyriaco praised the Spirit and Junior Spirit for their accomplishments and for being selected for their roles with Old Spanish Days.
Around 125 people came to enjoy the party, and Amanda De Lucia, executive director of the Goleta Valley Historical Society, said “it was just wonderful.”
“We saw a lot of young, local talent displayed, and it was just magnificent,” she told the News-Press. “People were in such a celebratory mood.”
The event was complete with upbeat Latino music, impressive dance numbers and catered empanadas, ceviche and a loaded salsa bar. Attendees drank and enjoyed a taste of what’s to come for this year’s Fiesta in Santa Barbara.
David Bolton, the second vice president for Old Spanish Days, made sure to mention the event’s sponsors: Community West Bank and Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf.
“It was a great opportunity for Old Spanish Days and the Goleta Valley Historical Society to thank our sponsors and longtime supporters,” he told the News-Press.
A special poster was auctioned off with the winning bid at $1,000.
The poster contains a collage of generational artwork from relatives of this year’s La Presidenta Stephanie Petlow. The collage features: a watercolor painting of a Spanish dancer by Ms. Petlow’s mother, Sylvianna Johns; colored pencil drawings of iconic Santa Barbara landmarks such as the County Courthouse, Santa Barbara Mission and “Bud” Bottoms’ dolphin fountain at Stearns Wharf by Ms. Petlow’s granddaughter, Nadia Mason; artwork from El Pueblo Viejo by local architect Steve Howsz; and graphic design completed by Mateo Dovgin, a senior at Santa Barbara High School and the son of the 1998 Spirit of Fiesta.
“It’s just the generations of bringing everybody together and having the families help, just putting everything together with my theme, ‘Honoring Generations,’” Ms. Petlow told the News-Press.
She said she felt the event went “extremely well” and was a good way to give back to all of the businesses by having people go out to support them. Live dance performances occurred at both Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant and the Nugget Bar and Grill.
“Everybody had a wonderful time just being able to socialize (and) visit with each other, people who hadn’t seen each other for probably over a year, because most of the time you see everybody at these events,” Ms. Petlow said, adding that the event allowed many generations of family members to reconnect.
People came from near and far to celebrate Fiesta Ranchera.
In fact, Ms. Petlow said this year’s Junior Spirit of Fiesta’s grandfather, Steve Metz, came all the way from Florida.
This year’s somewhat smaller crowd than usual didn’t phase Ms. De Lucia. She said drawing big crowds wasn’t the goal.
“The goal was to bring people back together and to celebrate both Fiesta as we’ve traditionally done it and just celebrating being able to be out again and to share a nice glass of wine,” she said. “That was the goal — it was accomplished … I think no matter where we celebrate, we’re happy to celebrate. And we had this first opportunity here at the ranch, and it will continue through July and August.”
Ms. Petlow said the event just made her more excited for what’s to come in the next couple months.
“I tell you, I had a smile from ear to ear,” she said. “We’re really excited to be able to bring Fiesta back to our Santa Barbara community in the safest way that we can following the guidelines.”