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Mercado de la Playa replaces Mercado del Norte for first time

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— Mercado de la Playa is replacing Mercado del Norte for this year’s Fiesta celebrations.

The new location at La Playa Stadium parking lot at Santa Barbara City College.

The market is the place you can find everything in one spot including carnival games and rides, Mexican street food, local boutiques, and music.

From flamenco to salsa, dancers energized the crowds.

“It’s exhilarating. To see the people's faces and to see people clapping and dancing and just celebrating is a rush,” said salsa dancer Mayra Pena-Calderas.

Festivities kicked off at noon, but the celebration was still going strong throughout the rest of the day.

“We had a blast today. I mean, when do the kids to get to go to an amusement park and walk onto every ride? We had so much fun. We had a blast. We're winning prizes. We love Santa Barbara," said Lisa Om, a mom visiting with her family from Colorado.

Some carnival games were more challenging than others, but persistence seems to pay off here.

"Every single one of these carnival games have that one little trick to them that will make it really easy. Of course, we don't tell you guys,” chuckled carnival game worker Carl Ebik.

Prizes ranged from popular Pokémon plushies to plastic hammers.

The highlight for many kids were the carnival rides.

“It's very scary the first time because we thought it was only going sideways, but then it started flipping. Yeah, we weren't really expecting that,” said local Mae Pesendian.

It wouldn’t be a mercado without the vendors selling everything from cascarones and musical instruments to clothing and accessories.

“I bought a flower and a poster and we just had a lovely, lovely time listening to the music. It’s great,” said long time Santa Barbara resident Celeste Barber.

Mercado de la Playa will be open every day through Sunday.

The schedule of performances changes daily so make sure to check out Old Spanish Days.

Article Topic Follows: Fiesta

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.


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