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‘Fiesta Music and Dance Fridays’ shows Old Spanish Days is still on despite changes

Fiesta Friday
Fritz Olenberger
Fiesta Music and Dance Fridays keeps this years Old Spanish Days alive. (Photo: Fritz Olenberger)
Fiesta Fridays
Fritz Olenberger
Fiesta Music and Dance Fridays keeps this years Old Spanish Days alive. (Photo: Fritz Olenberger)
Fiesta Fridays
Fritz Olenberger
Fiesta Music and Dance Fridays keeps this years Old Spanish Days alive. (Photo: Fritz Olenberger)
Fiesta Fridays
Fritz Olenberger
Fiesta Music and Dance Fridays keeps this years Old Spanish Days alive. (Photo: Fritz Olenberger)
Fiesta Fridays
Fritz Olenberger
Fiesta Music and Dance Fridays keeps this years Old Spanish Days alive. (Photo: Fritz Olenberger)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The coronavirus crisis has wiped out virtually every event on the calendar this summer, but the biggest one in Santa Barbara is not going away easily. Old Spanish Days is keeping the spirit alive with a "Music and Dance Fridays" event.

It takes place at the Carriage and Western Art Museum and is sent out as a streaming show around the community and with the technology, to the world.

Bands including Tony Ybarra, Area 51, Spencer the Gardner, False Puppet, King Bee and Mezcal Martini have all been booked.

The shows have a variety of hosts and El Presidente 2020 Erik Davis gives an Old Spanish Days update.

During the intermission there are dance performances and the introduction of special guests including the Honorary El Presidentes and La Presidentas.

This year's Fiesta theme is “¡Vamos a Bailar!”, in English that translates as, “Let’s Dance!”.  Dancing is always a part of Old Spanish Days, usually in many parts of town including the steps of the Old Mission, the Courthouse Sunken Gardens, and stages at two Mercados.

  Davis says the Board of Directors collaborated on a solution they felt could still bring Fiesta to local residents and with technology,  it now goes out to the world.

"This town is going to need some Fiesta joy. It lives in the heart. You can have Fiesta from home," said Davis.

Using social media, Old Spanish Days is delivering  all that it's meant to Santa Barbara and the surrounding areas since the 1920's.
" Fiesta is so important to this community," said Davis.  " And this is one way we are doing it in a safe, creative, and imaginative way to bring forward dance, music and history and bring it to people's homes. "

The Friday shows  from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on line come from the Carriage and Western Art Museum and are not open to the public.  It's the perfect back drop.The large courtyard is available and the dance groups have a safe space for their performances.


Along with dance groups,  both the Spirit of Fiesta Alena Velasco and the Junior Spirit of Fiesta  Alexandra Nocker will have highlighted performances every week.  

Davis says,  "we are trying to weave a few things together, history, dance, and music.  That's part of the joy of Fiesta,  just seeing the colors and the dance and the smiles, the twirling costumes."

The community response to the efforts to create some kind of Old Spanish days during a pandemic has been emotional.

"The notes, the support, the encouragement, it has brought me to tears a number of times," Davis said.

This month, the community will be encouraged to start creating mini-Fiesta's at home while they are coping with the virus crisis.

"Go get the bunting, go get the lights, bring a little Fiesta joy,  get a poster and pin and encouraging businesses and homes especially to dress up and show your Fiesta support," said Davis.

There will be special flags going up on State St. downtown later this month to celebrate the special time. The Downtown Organization is also encouraging other decorations on buildings and in window displays.

For more information go to : Old Spanish Days

For the Facebook video link go to : Old Spanish Days / Facebook

Watch for more tonight on KEYT NewsChannel 3, KCOY NewsChannel 12 and KKFX Fox 11.

(More details and video will be added here later today)

Coronavirus / Events / Health / Home / Latino / Latino Local / Lifestyle / Santa Barbara- S County

John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3 and KCOY 12 Central Coast News.