Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

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By Pat Fish

Dear Mayor Rowse & Councilmembers;

I am deeply concerned that the Fiesta Parade route this year may be a confused mess.

I have been emailing the Old Spanish Days organization for months, after it was announced that the parade would return, asking about what the new route would be, bypassing the State Street parklet zone.

Yesterday I got this from Maria Jimenez, Parade Coordinator: "The return route is from Calle Puerto Vallarta to Castillo St on Cabrillo Blvd." 

Who thought this through and decided that the best possible route would be to have the parade go across the beach, floats and carriages and marching bands pile up at Milpas, and then come BACK along the same route???????

I believe that there is a huge potential for confusion and accidents with the crowds getting up and leaving, and the large number of horses walking back through a disorganized street. Another option would be taking a back street return route, winding its way through the industrial and Funk zone back over to State and then down to the starting point. That is what I expected.

Alternatively this was the chance to give Milpas a way to claim the Fiesta Parade as a Mexican event. Was it even considered possible to have it staged at SB High School, proceed down Milpas, across Cabrillo and end up back at Pershing? That would allow for horse haulers to move their rigs from SBHS to the SBCC lot. 

Fiesta is something the City should do well, and lacking State Street as a route should have inspired creative thinking to make a new tradition. I personally favor bringing Milpas forward as a logical route, celebrating what has always been the Hispanic Main Street of town, and then proceeding across the beach. 

Too late now for this year, and this parade will go down as the year of the reverse and repeat. But I encourage the Government to make a new and better tradition for the next Fiesta.

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Babycakes Jul 29, 2022 08:26 AM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

I think staging it at SBHS is a great idea. Run the parade down Milpas, under the freeway, then along Cabrillo ending up at Pershing Park. Easy peasie. Alternatively, they could simply remove the barriers on State Street for the parade and use the traditional route as they've done for years. Any word on the Children's Fiesta Parade?

CanyonKid Jul 29, 2022 08:38 AM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

I 100% support moving the Fiesta parade to Milpas. That is a wonderful idea.

State street is dead, the Funk Zone has no funk...Milpas is still Milpas. Only obvious issue would be the territory between the west/east-siders, but maybe they could call a truce for the day.

positive-one Jul 29, 2022 10:22 AM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

Dear Pat Fish

I think you may have been given wrong information about the current parade route.
Per sbfiesta.org: Along Cabrillo Boulevard from Castillo Street to Calle Puerto Vallarta (Santa Barbara Chromatic Gate)
I BELIEVE the parade starts on the west end of Cabrillo and finishes on the east end just past Milpas. Dwight Murphy would be a great spot for the horse trailers etc .
I do agree, if the parade back tracks along Cabrillo, it'll be confusing....

Lucky 777 Jul 29, 2022 04:18 PM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

All I can say is what I was sent: Yesterday I got this from Maria Jimenez, Parade Coordinator: "The return route is from Calle Puerto Vallarta to Castillo St on Cabrillo Blvd." So THAT clearly states that it goes from Castillo to Calle Puerto Vallarta and does a turn about and comes back. I even called the office and they confirmed that verbally.

Gregoreo Jul 29, 2022 11:30 AM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

I don’t dislike the Milpas idea for Fiesta. The sidewalks could use some significant maintenance or at the very least a good pressure washing

Lucky 777 Jul 29, 2022 04:39 PM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

Just an update. A few hours after sending this to the Mayor and Council members I got a thoughtful email from Eric Friedman considering my concerns, saying he had been advocating making the parklets on State Street removable just for the rare events such as this. 24 hours later Oscar Gutierrez emailed and his only comment was "You should send this to the Old Spanish Days Board of Directors because they are in charge of making those decisions." That would be the email "parade@sbfiesta.org" that took months to reply to multiple enquiries. I wonder if POSITIVE-ONE is right, and all the floats and horses are planning to dump out at the base of Milpas....... that leaves all the equestrians with the necessity to have someone ferry their trailers from the SBCC lot over to a traffic jam at Milpas or wander back along the beach to Pershing Park and SBCC. And what about the floats? I guess we will all head down to Cabrillo and see what happens on Friday. Viva la confusión.

Basicinfo805 Jul 29, 2022 06:19 PM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

Lucky777 - do you really think this is the best use of our taxpayer funded and elected officials’ time?? I certainly don’t, and I would hope that smart locals who have some skin in the game agree - why are you wasting our council members time scrambling for a parade route? Is this their most important duty now? We know you ride horses or donkeys, but please.

SBWalkers Jul 30, 2022 06:37 AM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

Snipped from www.sbfiesta.org:
6:00 a.m. - The Forming Area for the Old Spanish Days Fiesta Parade will be closed on the following streets: 00 &100 blocks of Castillo St, 300 block of W. Mason St, 400 - 700 blocks of Shoreline Dr. (both lanes).
6:00 a.m. - Cabrillo Blvd, between Castillo St. and State St, will be restricted to local traffic only until 11:00 a.m.
11:00 a.m. - Cabrillo Blvd, between Castillo and Corona Del Mar, will also be closed to ALL traffic. However, buses, taxis, and local deliveries will be allowed only until 11:30 a.m.
12:00 p.m. - Old Spanish Days Fiesta Parade begins.
3:00 p.m. - Approximate ending time of the Parade. Street sweepers will immediately follow the parade with each block reopening once it's been swept.
Soooo - we must ASS-U-ME the parade starts at Castillo/Cabrillo, goes along Cabrillo and ends at Corona Del Mar (Near Milpas/Cabrillo) - does not mention that it returns to Castillo - so we have that.

a-1659247814 Jul 30, 2022 11:10 PM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

That's what I've been wondering through this whole conversation. Is the return meant to be part of the parade? Are viewers supposed to stay? Or is simply a return to staging/vehicles/trailers?

tsulger50 Jul 30, 2022 08:43 AM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

starting at SBHS, down Milpas, along Castillo and ending at Pershing park would almost triple the length of the parade route with lots of vacant sections along the route making it impractical for the horses to bound and antique wagons clatter along not to mention the participants having to waive and smile for that long. imagine the parade trying to navigate the traffic circle and the spectatorless sections from Mason Street to Castillo.

Babycakes Jul 30, 2022 09:00 AM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

TSULER50: I don't think the overall increased distance will be a problem at all for the participants, carts, or horses. What will happen though is that people will be able to enjoy the parade without standing 5-6-8 (or more) people deep as is the case along the State Street route. Basically, more people can enjoy the parade and the crowds would be stretched out over a longer distance. Certainly food and craft vendors can set up along the grassy area and sell delicious food/dessert items, as well as locally made and designed arts and crafts. If necessary, watering stations/troughs can be set up along the route for the horses, especially if it is a warm day. I see it as a win/win for just about everyone, which would be a nice change.

Gimli Jul 30, 2022 09:56 AM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

The Fiesta Parade on Cabrillo Blvd. or on Milpas would disrupt MTD buses for those who need to take them. Especially those who need to go to work. Lines 2 (to Milpas), 14 (to Montecito) and the 20 (to Carpinteria). Did the city officials think about that or the Fiesta Parade Committee or even discussed it with MTD officials??

a-1659200310 Jul 30, 2022 09:58 AM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

I don't think the Cabrillo area has enough turnaround area for horses and carriages. That could create a lot of upset animals being forced too close to each other, with rearing and backing into each other, etc. Not a good idea, all in all. What traditional staging areas are contiguous to this new route?

Je2ry6 Jul 30, 2022 12:30 PM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

Milpas area doesn't have enough spectator parking to have the parade there.
State Street should be cleared and opened for the traditional parade route.

Basicinfo805 Jul 30, 2022 03:05 PM
Op-Ed: Fiesta Parade Route is a Confused Mess

Agree w you MEBK, that’s how we’ve felt about it for years. I think the vast majority of local stay away. Obviously there are some who will go no matter how crappy the scene is.

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