SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - In a year when Old Spanish Days has been reduced to a few carefully planned events to abide by COVID-19 safety rules, the switch has been thrown on a colorful community display called, Operation “Light up your Fiesta Spirit.”
El Presidente Erik Davis said it is, "One way to honor our beloved festival while bringing joy and solidarity into our neighborhoods.”
He kicked off the event at the ACE Home Improvement Center in Santa Barbara.
“We hope seeing the colors and symbols of Fiesta remind the community that we’re all in this together and that there are better days ahead. Hope, joy and optimism have always been a big part of this reimagined Fiesta. "
In front of the store over the weekend a pop-up celebration featured the Junior Spirit of Fiesta Alexandra Nocker and Spirit of Fiesta Alena Velasco.
Inside there is a display with colorful lights, and all the hookups someone will need to decorate their homes or businesses. This concept is in line with the blue lights that were up to honor first responders a couple of months ago.
"We decided to start laying in the inventory, starting about four or five weeks ago, just to make sure that we would have it," said Home Improvement Owner Gary Simpson. "We've got outdoor floods so you can do yellow, green and red. They are LED," said Simpson. The Fiesta display also comes with a 20 percent discount.
Nearby is the new 2020 Fiesta poster, and Old Spanish Days pin.
The store is also selling the seven-foot bunting for business and home owners to hang outside as a sign of their Fiesta spirit.
The effort underway is starting well in advance of the event set for August 5-9.
"So we are going to encourage people to come by and light up your house, and decorate your yard with Fiesta over the next three or four weeks to bring that spirit forward." said Davis. "A lot of people on our street have already done it already. It brings a little happiness. It brings that Fiesta joy It is great for the front of your house. Now with these lights we are going to shine on for Fiesta," said Davis.
On a wall that starts in the hardware department and extending to the front of the store, Simpson has Fiesta posters dating back to 1977.
It's become a popular stroll for customers to look at inside.
"I know a lot of the artists. A lot of the El Presidente's," said Simpson.
Davis helped with a display for this year's poster just as customers enter the store. "He gave us the framed version. It's autographed. ¡Vamos a Bailar! (Let's Dance!) It's signed. People are coming in. It's a beautiful poster this year. It's one of the best posters ever," said Simpson.
The store has decorations outside already and many businesses are planning to add theirs in the coming days.
"It is going to be a big difference from our normal years, where we have parades." said Simpson. "We are going to just have to make it the best that we can. We will make it all happen.
For Davis, he said support has been coming in from many directions.
"It has brought me to tears a few times," Davis said. "The community in general has been stepping up. They've just been great. Just amazing. We live in a special, special place," said Davis.
For more information on projects go to: Old Spanish Days