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Old Spanish Days parade reveals a journey through history

The 94th Old Spanish Days parade may have been a show some have seen in one form or another before in Santa Barbara, but it’s also the first time many spectators have viewed this colorful and historic event. The mix made for a day of sharing and celebrating. It’s a blend of cultures in one place, along with about 600 horses and vintage carriages. The parade has a glimpse of Mexican, Spanish, American pioneer, religious and ranchero era cultures. It’s like a journey through time. On State Street Martin Irabien wore a large basket hat, that was used in the old days to carry loaves of bread. He said the parade was a beautiful event and “no matter how many times you see Fiestas parade, it is always unique. They’re all special to take the time to show us the dances, their horses, their styles, people come from all over the world to be here for fiestas. ” Margaret Failing Espisito was in the doorway of the Chase restaurant with a group of friends and said her vantage point was perfect for her and a novice. “It was my husband’s first fiesta. i was born and raised here but it was Derard’s first fiesta.” Her husband said, “We’ re coming back every year. It was everything I expected.” T o get a prime spot it called for arriving about two hours before the noon parade. This year, the heat was on, with temperatures in the 80’s, but for those on the route it felt much hotter. The riders, dancers and horses were showing the wear and tear of the hot summer event by halfway through the route. Water was being handed out along the way by volunteers.
For Mary Kathryn Marrs, who was born and raised in Santa Barbara she said, “I can’t imagine living anywhere else. This is something we are used to and sometimes we take it for granted. I can’t imagine not having a fiesta parade every year.” Montecito resident Augie Johnson spoke highly of a community that can put on this type of event that is known statewide. “Sa nta Barbara this particular weekend, it’s an incredible place to be. I welcome everyone who is non Santa Barbaran to join us in this festive atmosphere. ” In the downtown “crush zone” where the floats and riders are so close to the spectators there’s often some jovial words exchanged back and forth between those in the parade and those on the sidelines. Much of it starts with the famous vocal cry “Viva la Fiesta!”
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