Film Preserves 2021 La Fiesta Pequena

Film Preserves 2021 La Fiesta Pequena title=
Dancers at La Fiesta Pequena
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By Bonnie Carroll

The 2021 Old Spanish Days Fiesta scheduled for August 4-8 became a quick change and cancel challenge for the Old Spanish Days board and La Presidente, Stephanie Petlow. Due to pandemic restrictions many of the scheduled events for this year were cancelled, including the 750 horse El Desfile historico traditional parade, children’s parade, Noche de Ronda in the Courthouse Sunken Garden, El Mercado De La Guerra and the public viewing of La Fiesta Pequena on the steps of the Santa Barbara Mission. 

However, many significant events were held during the week and were sold out. Among them was The Santa Barbara Historical Museum presentation of the outstanding “Project Fiesta: A History of Old Spanish Days” highlighting the Historical Parade, which is free and will run through August 28, and Tablao Museo followed a Reception in the Garden where guests enjoyed delicious bites and margarita’s before being seated in the chic theatre style courtyard for the performance.

The magical Andalucia provided a lively Flamenco show under the stars and guests were skillfully taken from Santa Barbara to Spain by talented musicians and dancers including renowned Manuel Gutierrez, Gerardo Morales, Andres Vadin, Timo Nunez, Maria “LA Chacha” Bermudez, Talia Orgeta Vestal and loved local dance company, Flamenco Santa Barbara who were sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, investic, Bella Vista Designs, American Rivera Bank, Community First Bank, First Republic Bank and Tour Spain. To say it was a spectacular evening of outstanding performance would be an understatement. It was stunningly beautiful.

La Presidente 2021 Stephanie Petlow Greeting Guests at El Presidente Party


The La Misa Del Presidente, mass in the main church of Old Mission Santa Barbara, was an intimate and touching morning where La Presidente honored the tradition of celebrating the long-standing relationship between the Old Mission and Old Spanish Days, as well as the entire Fiesta community. The Mission visitors wore masks and were separated. The main altar was decorated in a beautiful historic fashion and photos of dignitaries in attendance were taken on the steps following the mass celebration. 

The Reception Del Presidente at the outdoor Carriage and Western Museum attracted guests in their finest Fiesta attire who savored a delicious buffet dinner and enjoyed introductions to past La Presidentes and City dignitaries, as well as dancing to lively music and entertainment by the Fiesta Spirit’s 2021. It was a warm and wonderful event enjoyed by everyone.

DIGS, Celebracion De Los Dignatarios, was back big-time at Santa Barbara Zoo but with a change of food offerings for guest enjoyment. This year a single caterer provided all the tasty bites and margaritas, while local winemakers and brewery’s provided fine pairing options. It was all delicious and a gorgeous sunset on the zoo hilltop made dancing to DJ Hectik music so much fun. Mayor Cathy Murillo was busy mixing with guests prior to the outstanding performance given by 2021 Fiesta Spirit Ysabella Grace Yturalde. La Presidente Petlow and Santa Barbara Zoo CEO Rich Block welcomed everyone and thanked them and the event sponsors for supporting the DIGS event, which benefited SB Zoo and OSD Fiesta.

Again the Free Stock Horse Shows 2021 were offered at Earl Warren Showgrounds where a colorful tribute to America’s first cowboys - the Vaquero took place on Thursday and Friday. I was sad to be unable to attend because I’ve fallen in love with the little buckaroo kids, and am so impressed by the horse handling of the skilled riders. I was told by others that it was once again outstanding. 

2021 Spirit of Fiesta Ysabella Grace Yturralde helping Jr. Spirit Savannah Hoover with her shoes at Santa Barbara Club 

The renowned Old Spanish Days Fiesta Horsemen’s Rendevous Dinner at Carriage and Western Museum was so wonderful with everyone wearing their ‘cowboy best’ and once again enjoying the finest of Fiesta featuring a gorgeous Mariachi band, a delicious tri-tip and chicken dinner with all the trimmings and an endless variety of beverages thanks to Jordano’s Food Service, a long-time sponsor for OSD. The Fiesta Spirit and Jr. Spirit gave a stellar performance that was loved by all, and a pass the hat fundraiser brought in some additional dollars for worthy causes. 

The close of my busy day was to travel with David Bolton, the sweet Fiesta Spirit’s, and their dedicated parents to the Santa Barbara Club, where they gave such a beautiful and professional performance that was so appreciated by guests dining in the garden. The Santa Barbara Club treated the Spirit’s and their devoted parents to dinner, where the girls promptly removed their shoes to rest their little feet in preparation for their next performance scheduled after dinner at the SB University Club. They love dancing and said they were excited to be going to their next performance.

I was sincerely touched and impressed by the care and respect these young women have for each other, as well as their humility about being selected 2021 Spirits. Such an unforgettable ending for my participation in Old Spanish Days Fiesta 2021. Looking forward to Old Spanish Days Fiesta 2022 and grateful to everyone who worked to make this beautiful event the very best it could be for Santa Barbara during this challenging year! For event details and dates for showing of 2021 La Fiesta Pequena commemorative film please visit: Viva La Fiesta!

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