Fiesta to be Reimagined for 2020

Fiesta to be Reimagined for 2020 title=
Fiesta to be Reimagined for 2020
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Source: Old Spanish Days

Putting the health and safety of the community first, the Old Spanish Days board of directors has made the decision to reimagine Fiesta for 2020 by holding many of its signature events online, on television or in ways that adhere to physical distancing practices, all while promoting and encouraging community-wide participation.

To protect audiences, dancers, musicians, volunteers and the community from the spread of COVID-19 and in response to guidance from elected and health officials, no Fiesta events will be held where large crowds could gather.

“With so much still unknown, it’s too big of a risk to hold a large-scale event like Fiesta that will attract thousands of people,” said El Presidente Erik Davis. “During these unprecedented times we believe it's the right thing to do so that people can adjust their plans and we can move forward and do what we can to make the best of the situation.”

Fiesta 2020, scheduled to take place August 5-9, 2020 at 19 venues city-wide, will be reimagined and will take place mostly on television and online and will include adaptive events that the community can participate in from home or their car.

“This is not how any of us expected this year to go,” El Presidente Davis said. “But we are all having to adjust and find moments that bring us joy. So while we won’t be gathering like we normally would, the Fiesta Board has adjusted our planning to focus on safe and adaptive ways that will still bring forward the Fiesta spirit and will honor many of our rich traditions.”

The plans for a reimagined program will include the release of the Commemorative Fiesta 2020 Poster and Pin which was unveiled live on KEYT News Channel 3 and available for purchase on the Old Spanish Days website.

The poster and pin are both original graphic designs by local Santa Barbara artist Andrew Leonard. The poster captures iconic scenes of Santa Barbara like the Santa Barbara Mission and the waterfront and prominently features a dancing couple. The couple depicted were inspired by famous posters from Seville, Spain and are evocative of this year’s Fiesta Theme,“¡Vamos a Bailar!”, in English, “Let’s Dance!”. The pin also features the dancing couple and the Mission while drawing inspiration from past pin designs.

“The primary inspiration came from the unique beauty of Santa Barbara both natural and man made,” said artist Andrew Leonard. “I am honored to be part of the enduring tradition of Old Spanish Days Fiesta through creating this year’s poster and pin.”

La Fiesta Pequeña, normally held on the steps of the beautiful Santa Barbara Mission, will be reimagined as a prime-time televised event airing on August 5 that will replay highlights from past La Fiesta Pequeña events and will include live commentary from hosts.

The organization is also exploring creative and innovative ways to reimagine the El Desfile Historico (Historical Parade) while paying tribute to our dedicated health workers. Plans will be announced as soon.

The organization also plans to bring forward a virtual summer concert series called “Fiesta Music & Dance Fridays” that will feature local bands and will highlight restaurants and non-profits typically seen at the Mercados. Culminating with grand performances on Friday, August 7 and Saturday August 8, these virtual concerts will be streamed on the organization’s Facebook page and will be shown on TVSB, Santa Barbara’s community access television station. The community is encouraged to tune in and dance at home.

The organization will also host a series of virtual interviews, air historic footage of past events and post historic photos on their social media sites. And in collaboration with the Downtown Organization, plans are in the works to have the Fiesta flags fly on State Street for an extended period of time.

"I applaud the creative ideas put forth by the Old Spanish Days Board and appreciate that they are putting the health and safety of our community first,” said Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo. “I will continue to support their efforts and look forward to participating in the reimagined program."

Information about the Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta as well as other creative ideas to bring the community together while staying apart, are also being worked out and will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Fiesta will look different this year”, said El Presidente Davis. “But we will do our very best to honor our history, maintain our traditions and celebrate our Santa Barbara story together. Viva la Fiesta.”

Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation dedicated to honoring and preserving Santa Barbara’s history, spirit, culture, heritage and traditions. Additional information can be found online at

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a-1590621930 May 27, 2020 04:25 PM
Fiesta to be Reimagined for 2020

"Reimagine" my a&&. No one is making any effort to adapt, just cancelling and shutting down everything. I'm sorry, but I've pulled a 180 on this now that we're almost into June, numbers have been DROPPING and we're still cancelling everything even months away. The Chumash Casino is now opening in a week, dine-in restaurants are open, barbers are open, but we can't safely watch fireworks or a dance performance? This is getting stupid.

Shasta Guy May 26, 2020 01:12 PM
Fiesta to be Reimagined for 2020

The food booths are significant fund raisers for many non-profit organizations. This will have negative consequences for our community long after fiesta.

a-1590508441 May 26, 2020 08:54 AM
Fiesta to be Reimagined for 2020

Respect the decision. But can’t we still celebrate through the food? Curbside, take out,? At least those great offerings at Our Lady of Guadalupe?

Lucky 777 May 25, 2020 12:48 PM
Fiesta to be Reimagined for 2020

Tragic! Now more than ever we need our little Mardi Gras, to blow off some steam, celebrate life. I will greatly miss my participation in the Parade. The more the citizenry is repressed the more they need these opportunities to feel free and part of a community. And I totally agree "A hammer to the knees of an already crippled local economy. "

angryjoe May 25, 2020 09:26 AM
Fiesta to be Reimagined for 2020

Wonderful poster and pin by Andrew Leonard. Has anybody seen the crowds on the “new” State Street or by Cabrillo?

Get over it May 24, 2020 04:11 PM
Fiesta to be Reimagined for 2020

Why not just cancel it? Yet another blow to businesses, but I get it. Who's going to tune in to watch fiestas from yesteryear? Save the time and energy, and that great poster, for next year!

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