The sun was shining on the steps of the historic Lobero Theatre on March 27 as David Bolton, El Presidente of Old Spanish Days Fiesta, announced the finalists for the 2023 Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta.
The Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta are young flamenco dancers who are, according to the Old Spanish Days Fiesta website (sbfiesta.org), the “visual representation of Fiesta, and a goodwill ambassador to local residents and visitors alike.”
The dancers who are awarded the title will be in attendance at the 2023 Old Spanish Days Fiesta, a five day festival from August 2-6 for local Santa Barbara residents to celebrate community and culture.
This year, there are 10 junior finalists and 12 spirit finalists at the auditions, all hoping to be awarded the Spirit or Junior Spirit of Fiesta title for the August celebration.
Tara Mata and Layla Gocong were in attendance at the announcement, as they were the 2022 Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta.
In addition to the title of Spirit of Fiesta, the winner is awarded a $5,000 scholarship to visit Spain and learn more about the culture, dance and history of the country.
Ms. Mata just traveled to Spain in honor of her 2022 award. She mentioned that “it was an absolutely amazing opportunity and honor to visit Spain on this scholarship.”
The Spirit of Fiesta auditions will be held on April 15 at the Lobero Theatre. The Division Chief of Dance and Entertainment of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Pratricia Oreña, did say that the auditions are sold out, with over 650 people anticipated to attend. Due to this high demand, the auditions will be livestreamed on the Old Spanish Days website in partnership with KEYT.
If you would like more information on the auditions or the Old Spanish Days Fiesta, visit sbfiesta.org.