It’s Fiesta tradition for the family of Old Spanish Days’ la presidenta to accompany her as she rides on horseback during the Fiesta Historical Parade.
This time around, the family of La Presidenta Barbara Carroll followed her on a float that the Dream Foundation’s Flower Empower program, California Mission Foundation, and Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara decked out in flowers.
Shortly before the parade began late Friday morning, Ms. Carroll told the News-Press that she was thrilled with the work of the organizations, calling the end result “amazing” and “much better than we had imagined.”
Her brothers, Danny Carroll and Rob Carroll, built the float structure over two weekends, after which the Dream Foundation and its collaborators worked their magic. Danny Carroll admired the foundation’s ability to transform the black, blocky piece of wood that he and his brother put together into something far more ornate.
“Without the Dream Foundation this was never going to happen because I don’t have a creative bone in my body and I never could have come up with these ideas,” he said.
Though the parade has concluded, the flowers, all grown in Carpinteria, haven’t seen the last of their good use.
A nationwide wish granting agency, the Dream Foundation serves terminally-ill adults with life expectancies of nine months or fewer by fulfilling their “dreams,” which range from basic needs items to making happy memories and meeting personal heroes, according to the organization’s website. The foundation’s other local efforts to serve individuals nearing the end of their lives include its Flower Empower program, in which 20 volunteers deliver handmade bouquets of Carpinteria-grown flowers to needy locals every Saturday morning.
Today, the Dream Foundation will fulfill its usual duties and take all of the bouquets on the float to local hospice patients.
Barbara Carroll said the Dream Foundation had long wanted to decorate a float for the parade and volunteered its services once it heard that she needed help adorning hers. While usually the Fiesta president’s family follows in a carriage, Ms. Carroll has a “large, large family,” big enough to necessitate a float. Family members who didn’t fit formed a walking group beside the float as it proceeded down Carillo Boulevard and up State Street.
Family members lucky enough to ride on the float were completely happy with the way it looked. After hearing her brothers talk about the float they had worked on, Barbara Carroll’s sister, Arlene Carroll, echoed la presidenta and said it was “more beautiful than I imagined it was going to be.”
She added that after years of helping her sister with parade “grunt work” like setting up trash cans and announcing for the event, it was her first time riding in the parade.
“Finally getting to do this is really exciting,” she said.
Barbara Carroll’s other sister, P.J. Carroll, called the float “over-the-top what I expected.” Pointing to a sign emblazoned on the side of the float, she said, “I’m glad they put a sign there so that people know that the Dream Foundation had everything to do with it.”