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Old Spanish Days shifts to a beachfront Mercado to go with the downtown Mercado

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With a shift from the northside mercado to the beach area, Old Spanish Days is encouraging the public to see the newly designed Mercado de la Playa.

It will be in the parking lot at La Playa Stadium. 

El Presidente David Bolton says the Mercado at the beach will include a full carnival, beer garden, food booths and live concerts.

The Mercado de la Guerra downtown will be open Wednesday through Saturday. The Mercado de la Playa will be open Thursday through Sunday.

Parking will be available at the Santa Barbara City College lot and at Leadbetter Beach.

The mercados will have many booths fun by non-profits in the city and for some it is the biggest fundraiser of the year.

The food selections will include tacos, tortas, taquitos, tamales, corn on the cob, horchata, hot dogs and desserts.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta 2023 is in its 99th year and runs from August 2-6.

Old Spanish Days El Presidente 2023, David Bolton said, the beach area mercado will have "rides and games for all ages.   There's about 20 of them but the big attraction is going to be the Ferris wheel.  It's going to be large and it is going to be right here at the ocean. That is going to be something that everybody is going to want to experience."

Getting around will be challenging but there will also be free transportation options.

 Bolton said,   "the city is offering free shuttles along Chapala coming down Anacapa all the way to the Granada. We also have plenty of parking on the harbor parking lots and Santa  Barbara City College is great collaborative partner. All campus parking will be free the four days of Mercado de la Playa. " 

One of the food booths will be run by Elubia Orozco.  She just won the Latino Business Award for Woman Business of the Year.

"Everything is very fast and I like customer service, and fast food, " said Orozco about her on site preparation.    She and some of the other vendors are getting double-sized spaces.   "Now it's more space. I feel more like freedom inside,  got  a lot of room yes!    I have a food truck that will also be in the the Mercado de la Playa selling papusas."

The community will have the first taste of the food, Wednesday at 11 a.m.

  Both mercados will have big stages and free shows with dancing and live bands  throughout Fiesta.   "Between the two locations, (there will be) 30 live concerts.   It's going to be great with food, music, a carnival down here by the beach."

The downtown Mercado will be open Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Mercado de la Playa will be open Thursday through Saturday 12:00p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Old Spanish Days says it is still looking for volunteers for the mercados and the parade route.

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Santa Barbara

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John Palminteri

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