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Our Lady of Guadalupe mercado opens for Fiesta 2022

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Local church families will be gathering to serve authentic Spanish food during Fiesta week called Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercado.

What was once Santa Barbara's "best kept secret" is now one of of the most popular traditions during Old Spanish Days.

"Don’t wait until somebody has gone to think about tradition, think about it now. I mean, Fiesta is a perfect time to do it. It's a family affair, especially here at Our Lady of Guadalupe,” said Fiesta Safety Officer Anthony Rodriguez

Anthony Rodriguez is honoring his late uncle’s memory by continuing the tradition of cooking and selling Mexican food with his family and fellow church members.

“This is the most authentic food that you’re gonna get anywhere in fiestas. I mean, this is all handmade, homemade. It's very rare that we use cans,” said Anthony. 

Hundreds of visitors waited in line friday to buy tamales, flautas, tacos, churros, and agua frescas.

Some of the volunteers were even transported back to their childhood after making and eating their favorite meals.

“When we make tamales, it's a lot of hard work, but doing it together as a family, you can't get that back. It's something that stays with you,” said Anthony 

The money made during the next few days is how the church sustains itself financially for the rest of the year.

"It's a family tradition, and I usually just come with my family,” said 10 year old Roberto Mendoza

“We love to do this every year,” said volunteer Ruby Celia. 

The mercado will be open through Sunday at 227 North Nopal Street in Santa Barbara.

Hours of operation are 11 am to 10 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 11 a m to 9 pm on Sunday.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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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