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Two minute surveys begin on Fiesta spending

It could be one of the quickest and more meaningful surveys Santa Barbara has ever taken. And it lasts just two minutes.

The UC Santa Barbara Economic Forecast along with Old Spanish Days have teamed up on a two minute survey that could reveal economic information never before assembled on the impact of Fiesta.

Without a doubt it is the signature event for Santa Barbara and has been since 1924.

Thousands will pour into the city for events, food, social gatherings and a real life journey through California history that blend the Spanish, Mexican and Western Pioneer cultures together.

Peter Rupert with the UCSB Economic Forecast says the surveys about Fiesta will be taken in person with a series of questions, but no requirement to release email addresses or other specifically personal information.

“We’re trying to get (information) from the visitors, the local accomodations and the restaurants and from the locals, how much they are spending due to Fiesta. So a lot of the questions are about spending,” he said.

Past La Presidenta Rhonda Ledson Henderson said, ” Fiesta has grown much bigger than Old Spanish Days, so it is a report to the city. This is the State of Fiesta.”

The event is funded in several ways. Much of it comes through a city grant, sponsorships and straight volunteerism at no charge.

Non-profit groups will operate the food booths for four days and for some it is their biggest fundraiser of the year. But the money spent on supplies and the essentials will be part of the survey. You can get a taste of those costs when you see large deliveries of tri-tip, corn on the cob, tamales, churros and many other food items as the mercados welcome large, hungry crowds each day.

Carnival ride vendors have an investment to bring their mini fair to MacKenzie park, but it only works if they can get families to bring their kids out and enjoy the thrills that come with the electrifying set up.

Some of the information that seems so obvious is still a mystery without real data and numbers that the survey will provide.

Area businesses or all kinds will also be asked for input whether they sell boutique items on State Street or are a seamstress working on event clothing.

At Mely’s Fashions on San Andres street Rafa Martel has a fully stocked store up to the ceiling with dresses, hats, shirts and novelties. He sees a massive increase in customers during Old Spanish Days and even runs a second location on De la Guerra street near the main plaza where customers pick up items on the spot.

He would some day like to expand his store if the opportunity arises.

“Yes there is a demand for my stuff,” he said. And it’s year round. “Y ou know now it is for baby showers, parties, bridal showers, it’s Mexican themed parties and having a good time and enjoying it.”

While talking about the stores growing popularity, customers were bringing up hangars full of clothing to purchase and he was directing others to parts of the store where there were items that might be of interest.

Rupert says those taking surveys will be wide spread across the city. A basic target is ” if we can get 1000 visitors, 200 mercados and businesses.”

The survey was announced on the steps of Santa Barbara City hall with local politicians including Mayor Cathy Murrillo supporting the effort along with La Presidente Denise Sanford.

They both say the information from the survey will help to focus finances and creative planning relating to Old Spanish Days more effectively in the future.

For more information about Old Spanish Days go to :

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