Spirit of Fiesta and Junior Spirit Announced for 2022 Old Spanish Days

Spirit of Fiesta and Junior Spirit Announced for 2022 Old Spanish Days title=
2022 Junior Spirit Layla Gocong (Photo Fritz Olenberger)
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Source: Old Spanish Days

Tara Mata, a 19-year-old student at Santa Barbara City College, was selected 2022 Spirit of Fiesta. She danced a Cantinas.

Meanwhile, nine-year-old Layla Gocong, a third-grader at Crane Country Day School, was chosen as the 2022 Junior Spirit. She danced a Tanguillo. 

The Spirit Auditions are the most anticipated moment of Fiesta. Each year, the Spirit of Fiesta is front and center at the major Old Spanish Days events and, along with the Junior Spirit, will bring dance and energy to the community.

This year’s Fiesta La Presidente Maria Cabrera announced the names of the two winners in a most dramatic moment.

More than 500 were in attendance as each of the candidates, 8 in the Spirit category, and 11 in the Junior Spirit category, danced in front of family, friends and the ever-important judges. The names of the three judges are not revealed to keep them anonymous.

Tara Mata and Layla Gocong (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

Prior to the announcement of the 2022 Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta, the outgoing Spirit Ysabella Yturralde and Junior Spirit Savannah Hoover performed their farewell dance to thundering applause

This is the second consecutive year that the Spirit Auditions have been held at the historic Lobero Theatre. The theatre originally opened its doors in 1924 and was tied in with the very first Fiesta held in Santa Barbara that same year. 

The first Spirit of Fiesta, Lia Parker, was chosen in 1949. 

Fiesta 2022 runs from August 3-6.

Tara Mata (Photo by Fritz Olenberger)

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