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New La Casa De La Raza Treasures Mercado opens this weekend in Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Eastside Santa Barbara community gathering place for decades, La Casa De La Raza, is in a revival mode. That includes new activities such as a Mercado on Sunday.

It is called the Santa Barbara Treasures Mercado, and it takes place on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Organizer Diana Canales says it will be the start of a weekly event. There are 25 vendors and room for more.

The shoppers will be able to see collectibles, antiques, multi-cultural items, clothing, and one-of-a-kind gifts.
Many of the sellers are local residents, and some are up from Los Angeles.

Jacqui Inda with the La Casa De La Raza and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said,  "as we grow the market  we will have different vendors different businesses the food and the entertainment that goes along with the market and those kinds of Sunday events."

Walking around the building, in and out of large rooms she said,  " we still have some revamping to do in this space.".

A significant change took place in recent years when the operations of La Casa shifted to the  La Casa Founders non-profit.

Activities for all ages  are returning to many of the spaces including a boxing training area,  and a theatre for movies,  bands and  special events.

The Sunday mercado is also expected to help unite neighborhoods from different areas.    Inda also said, "it's to bring the community back to La Casa especially on those Sunday's to make it more of a family type event.   We will grown in one part and as we start to grow it every Sunday it will expand throughout the whole building. We are over 25,000 square  feet of property. To see it get to that point where we can utilize all of the spaces on Sunday that will be great."

The building will also have a coffee window run by local youths in the future.

There's also going to be a celebration in September to mark the 50th anniversary of La Casa.
These ideas and programs will " bring that energy back and help to tell people the building is getting to be open again and getting to that level that it used to be."

The non-profit board and event organizers are working on solutions to many challenges and  are inviting the community to join in.

"Let's get this going and let's keep going on this momentum," said Inda.

For more information contact La Casa De La Raza or call 805-886-9866.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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