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Fiesta Events List
updated: Jul 28, 2011, 8:07 AM

Source: Old Spanish Days

Santa Barbara's Largest Event: Old Spanish Days Fiesta: August 3 - 7, 2011
Listing of Major Events and Photo Opportunities

"Celebrate Santa Barbara" is the theme for Santa Barbara's 87th Old Spanish Days Fiesta, August 3 through August 7 2011. Fiesta celebrates a time when friends and strangers were welcomed unconditionally into the tiny Santa Barbara community in the old Spanish days of the early 1800's. In those long ago times, people would travel from rancho to rancho to help neighbors round up their cattle, and then celebrate with a fiesta at day's end on the patio of the casa. The rousing Californio songs, the spell-binding Spanish and Mexican dances, colorful clothing, bountiful food and drink were how people shared their hospitality. Friendships amongst the early families were built that have carried down through the years by their descendants.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta gives pause to remember and celebrate the old traditions with friends and neighbors, and each of the activities of Fiesta can be traced all or in part to events of the past. The traditions of colorful music, dance and song, together with a spirit of friendliness, hospitality and tolerance are part of a special heritage which we seek to perpetuate.

Santa Barbara's largest festival began in 1924 in response to the heartfelt need of the residents to preserve and celebrate the music, dancing, songs and other traditions of the city's heritage - the Spanish, Mexican and Native American cultures - to celebrate the grand opening of the now historic Lobero Theatre, and, to attract visitors to one of the most beautiful places in California.

Highlights of the five-day Fiesta that have continued over the years include events featuring costumes, songs and dances of early California, two mercados or marketplaces at where one can find delicious food, drink and free entertainment, a children's parade, a historic parade which one of the largest equestrian parades in the United States, a rodeo, evenings of free music and dance performances under the stars and an extensive arts and crafts fair at the beach..

Fiesta Pequeña, the "Little Fiesta," is the opening ceremony August 3 at 8:00 pm on the steps of the historic Santa Barbara Mission. From 1927 to the present, the tradition of presenting music, singing and dancing has not changed. Fiesta continues to open with this beautiful and lively program at the Queen of the Missions. This event is free to the public.

Los Mercados opening Wednesday August 3 through Saturday night 9:00 am to 10:00 pm. daily-During the many fiestas prior to the first Old Spanish Days Fiesta in 1924, booths were set up in various locations throughout the city called Mercados, or marketplaces. Merchandise was sold and food and entertainment provided. This custom has continued and is an important part of Old Spanish Days. In 1949, for the first time, booths were sponsored by non- profit or religious organizations. This tradition has continued over the years and the proceeds still support their programs. Entertainment is offered throughout the day and evening to provide an even more festive and enjoyable atmosphere. These locations are free to the public. Booths charge for sale items.

Noches De Ronda opening Thursday, August 4, through Saturday night 8:00 pm. These "Nights of Gaiety," are evenings of free Spanish and Mexican music and dance at the Sunken Gardens of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Noches was first organized in 1922 in a backyard of a local home. Members of the community were invited for an evening of music and dance performances performed to preserve the traditional music and dance of California. Over the years, the size of the party grew until the property could no longer accommodate the crowd. The event was moved to the beautiful Sunken Gardens of the Santa Barbara County Court House in 1930. While the event now includes a large variety of songs, instrumental music and dance, it has constantly included in its
programs as featured numbers the traditional California songs and dances, never losing focus on the original purpose of the first modern-day Fiesta in 1924. This event is free to the public.

Professional Bull-Riding. Thursday August 6th 7:30 p.m. in Earl Warren Showgrounds Arena. The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Challenger Tour in a one-night only appearance. The toughest sport on earth returns with the nation's top riders competing in this fast growing sport. Tickets for this event are available. Until July 29th, call (805) 688-5093. From July 30th, call the Box Office at (805) 682.5848.

Competencia de los Vaqueros, Friday, August 5-7, 7:30 p.m. It's a colorful, action-packed tribute to America's First cowboy - the Vaquero. Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association athletes from all over the West compete in contests of skills and daring that have their roots in Santa Barbara's rancho era. Bull and bronc riding and barrel racing plus mutton bustin' for cowkids, and team penning guarantee "one-of-a-kind" affordable family entertainment.. During the days the Tri-County stock horse show brings in local riders to compete in a variety of horse competitions. Each day brings different events. Check website at http://www.sbfiestarodeo.com/ for daily schedules. For tickets to this event, until July 29th, call (805) 688-5093. From July 30th, call the Box Office at (805) 682.5848.

El Desfile Histórico Parade, August 5th Begins at noon starting at Castillo Street and Cabrillo Blvd. Entries progress to State Street, and then north on State St. to Sola St. . It is one of the largest equestrian parades in the United States and some of the most beautiful horses in the region strut their stuff along with horse drawn carriages from the past and present. Flower laden floats depicting moments in history and mariachis and marching bands complement the equestrians in this exquisite event.

Fiesta Arts & Crafts Show, August 6-7, 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
For more than 50 years, this free event showcases a statewide gathering of artisans and crafts people displaying a wide variety of paintings, carvings, pottery, and other handcrafted wares for sale on beautiful Cabrillo Blvd., west of Stearns wharf.


July 30, 2011 Flower Girls Garden Party, SB Historical Museum
July 31, 2011 El Presidente's Party, Doubletree Inn, Santa Barbara 5:00 p.m.
August 1, 2011 Noches de Ronda Rehearsal, Courthouse Sunken Gardens 6:00 p.m.
August 2, 2011 Fiesta Pequeña Rehearsal, Old Mission Steps 6:00
August 2, 2011 Flower Girls Leave Oak Park for Rest Home visits 9:30;
August 2, 2011 Flower Girls visit Montecito Fire house at noon
August 3-6, 2011 Mercado del la Guerra Ribbon-Cutting by Mayor Helen < Schneider
August 4, 2011 Celebración de los Dignitarios, Santa Barbara Zoo, hilltop 5:00 p.m
August 4, 2011 Professional Bull-Riding, Earl Warren Showgrounds, 7:30 p.m
August 4-6, 2011 Noches de Ronda, Courthouse steps, 8:00 p.m>
August 5, 2011 Historical Parade, Cabrillo up State Street, 12:00 p.m., Santa Barbara
August 5-7, 2011 Competencia de los Vaqueros (Rodeo), Earl Warren Showgrounds, 7:30 p.m
August 6, 2011 Children's Parade, State Street, 10:00 a.m
August 6-7, 2011 Fiesta Arts and Crafts Show, Cabrillo Blvd. West of Stearns Wharf 10:00 a.m.
August 7, 2011 Concert Orchestra, 3:30 p.m


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