photo:Proclamación del Presidente 2016

Fiesta News

2018 Spirit Pre-Auditions January 6th

Posted November 02, 2017

The pre-audition will be held Saturday, January 6, 2018 at La Cumbre Jr. High School located at 2255 Modoc Rd., Santa Barbara, Ca.  The auditions will be open for ALL participants, who are residents and reside in the County of Santa Barbara, from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm. You may come at any time during the three hour period.  This is a first come first serve Pre-Audition so arrive early.

Please contact Michelle Bischoff at 805-570-4361,, Old Spanish Days office at 805-962-8101 or if you have any questions.  The office is open Monday through Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm. The office is closed Saturday and Sunday.

For more information

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Old Spanish Days Names 2018 Leadership Team for 94th Fiesta

Posted October 13, 2017

The organizing group for Santa Barbara’s weeklong Fiesta has named its leadership and executive team for the 94th edition of one of this country’s largest regional festivals. Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara has selected its Executive Committee, including the eighth Fiesta La Presidente to lead the organization, as well as five Division Chiefs who will oversee a variety of events from Celebrations to Pageantry and from Dance and Entertainment to Mercados and External Relations.

The 2018 Old Spanish Days Executive Committee will include La Presidente Denise Sanford, who joined the OSD Board in 2002, La Primera Vice Presidente Barbara Carroll, El Segundo Vice Presidente Erik Davis, La Secretaria Stephanie Petlow, and La Tesorera Angela Miller-Bevan.

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¡Viva la Fiesta - Viva la Comunidad!

Posted October 13, 2017

A big thank you to our community for participating in a very successful Old Spanish Days Fiesta. To serve as La Presidente for our 93rd annual celebration was a truly humbling experience that I will never forget. 

I began this year honoring our beloved Father Virgil Cordano O.F.M. His signature reminder of “Unity through Community” served as our theme for this memorable year, but also as a call to all of us to celebrate and recognize our extraordinary community and the incredible unity that comes from this tradition.

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2017 Fiesta Poster and Pin Unveiled at La Primavera

Posted May 20, 2017

Much Kept Secret Highlights First Official OSD Fiesta Party of the Year 

On a perfect spring evening and at a lively La Primavera celebration transformed into an “Evening in Spain”, this year’s Fiesta La Presidente Rhonda Ledson Henderson unveiled the 2017 Fiesta Poster and Pin before a throng of local dignitaries, community leaders and supporters of Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

To illustrate by this year’s Fiesta theme, Unity through Community, La Presidente Henderson chose an original artwork by Nicholas S. Firfires (1919-1990), “Gathering for Fiesta”, as the focal highlight of this year’s Fiesta Poster. Working with artistic director Jon Patrick Hyde, La Presidente Henderson spent months looking through local historical archives, museum collections and other sources to find the “inspirational” image for this year’s poster.

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Proclamación de la Presidente 2017

Posted April 14, 2017

For 93 years, since the first “Old Spanish Days” in 1924, Fiesta has been a celebration of the rich history that makes Santa Barbara such a special place. Annually, the experiences shared during Fiesta serves as a uniting force in our community.

Throughout the years, there has been the respectful recognition and steadfast reverence of the traditions born of its origins. The traditions of civility and dignity harken back to a time when life was difficult and often uncertain. Joy was found in the simplest of things. 

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Old Spanish Days Announces 2017 Fiesta Theme

Posted February 08, 2017

La Presidente Rhonda Henderson Makes It Official in Mission Sacred Garden

Surrounded by local community and civic Leaders, and with the sacred garden of Old Mission Santa Barbara serving as a historic backdrop, 2017 Old Spanish Days La Presidente Rhonda Ledson Henderson unveiled this year’s Fiesta theme – Unity through Community. In Spanish, Unidos en Comunidad

“Each year, the Presidente for Old Spanish Days has the privilege of selecting a theme for the coming year, and for me, Fiesta has always meant one thing – COMMUNITY!,” said La Presidente Henderson in making the much-anticipated announcement. “The Fiesta family is large and it extends well past our Board – our over 3,500 volunteers, our sponsors, the Mission, our City and County, our first responders, the dance studios, our collaborative non-profits, the artists, and the over 30 non- profits that stage their fundraisers around Fiesta.”

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Old Spanish Days Names Leadership Team For 93rd Fiesta

Posted November 01, 2016

The organizing group for Santa Barbara’s weeklong Fiesta has named its leadership team for the 93rd edition of one of this country’s largest regional festivals. Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara has selected its Executive Committee, including the seventh Fiesta La Presidente to lead the organization, as well as five Division Chiefs who will oversee a variety of events from Celebrations to Pageantry and from Dance and Entertainment to Mercados and External Relations.

The 2017 Old Spanish Days Executive Committee will include La Presidente Rhonda Ledson Henderson, who joined the OSD Board in 2006, La Primera Vice Presidente Denise Sanford, La Segunda Vice Presidente Barbara Carroll, La Secretaria Michelle Bischoff, and La Tesorera Angela Miller-Bevan.

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Many Thanks To All!

Posted November 01, 2016

What a great Fiesta 2016! It was a great privilege and honor to serve as this year’s El Presidente. I am truly appreciative of Santa Barbara’s involvement and appreciation of Fiesta.

I began this year by inviting everyone to learn how the sea influenced early Santa Barbara, and by asking everyone to join in celebrating the generosity, lifestyle, hospitality and friendliness of the spirit of old Santa Barbara through Fiesta.  

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Project Fiesta! Building a Complete History of Old Spanish Days

Posted July 20, 2016

The Santa Barbara Historical Museum is proud to introduce a new installation titled Project Fiesta! Building A Complete History of Old Spanish Days, which focuses on the important roles Fiesta has played in the Santa Barbara community. Fall in love with Fiesta as memories of the festival come to life with personal stories, vintage posters, restored costumes, historical photographs, and artifacts that connect our community and celebrate our traditions.

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Jean-Michel Cousteau Named Grand Marshal for Santa Barbara’s Historical Fiesta Parade

Posted July 19, 2016

By Sarah Scarminach, Reprinted from Noozhawk News

The environmentalist who created the Ocean Futures Society will lead the parade for this year's celebrations, which have the theme of "The Coastal Frontier." A gloomy morning turned into a beautiful Tuesday afternoon as Jean-Michel Cousteau stood aboard the Double Dolphin and accepted his position as grand marshal for this year’s Historical Fiesta Parade.

The short cruise, put on by Fiesta El Presidente, JC Gordon, began in the Santa Barbara Harbor and ended just off Leadbetter Beach before the ship returned back to port.

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Ninth Annual Fiesta Ranchera at Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta

Posted June 18, 2016

Fiesta Ranchera is now Goleta’s biggest event of the year. For the first time, Fiesta Ranchera incorporated an all-inclusive format with over 20 restaurants, wineries and breweries to sample from.

The event is a 50/50 fundraiser for Old Spanish Days and the Goleta Valley Historical Society at a location steeped in California history.

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South Coast Business & Technology Awards Honor’s Old Spanish Days.

Posted June 14, 2016

Annual awards banquet brings together innovation leaders for Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara benefit

[excerpted from] Local leaders in business and technology gather to recognize individuals and companies who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to ensuring the economic vitality of the South Coast of Santa Barbara County. Proceeds benefit the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara’s South Coast Business & Technology Awards Fund, which grants scholarships to local students studying business and technology-related subjects at local schools.

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Fiesta Summer Season to Open with Fiesta Ranchera Tasting Event

Posted June 13, 2016

The ninth annual Fiesta Ranchera will open Fiesta’s summer season June 16 starting at 5 p.m. at the historic Rancho La Patera & Stow House, 304 N. Los Carneros Road in Goleta.

This popular tasting event, co-hosted by Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara and the Goleta Valley Historical Society, offers a festive evening of pre-Fiesta fun, food, music and dancing.

The beautiful gardens of Rancho La Patera & Stow House offer the perfect ambiance for a sampling of food from local restaurants and wines from local award-winning wineries as well as craft beer and signature drinks.

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La Primavera Party held at Historic Rancho Dos Pueblo

Posted May 16, 2016


El Presidente J.C. Gordon wanted this year's La Primavera to be special for his year as the head of Old Spanish Days.

In past years, the official kickoff and major fundraiser to Fiesta has taken place downtown, but on this Saturday evening, hundreds of people dined and danced under the stars and next to the ocean at Rancho Dos Pueblos. The isolated ranch and even more isolated beach was the perfect location for this year's theme: Santa Barbara - The Coastal Frontier.

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Spirit and Junior Spirit for 2016

Posted April 19, 2016

By Gail Arnold, Noozhawk Contributing Writer | @NoozhawkNews | (Reprint from

Alexis Simentales Earns Spirit of Fiesta Title, with Sarah Naretto Named Junior Spirit


About 450 enthusiastic community members turned out for the Spirit of Fiesta Auditions on Saturday afternoon at La Cumbre Junior High School on Santa Barbara’s Westside.

The crowd was treated to incredible performances by the 12 finalists for the Spirit of Fiesta and the 11 finalists for the Junior Spirit of Fiesta. 

Alexis Simentales was named the 2016 Spirit of Fiesta and Sarah Naretto the Junior Spirit. The runners-up were Alexia Olivares and Reese Danhauer, respectively.

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Proclamación del Presidente 2016

Posted April 05, 2016

It is with my great pleasure to extend to you, residents and visitors of Santa Barbara, a gracious “Bienvenidos a Todos!” This marks the 92nd year our community will celebrate our seaside town’s multicultural history and traditions.

Santa Barbara’s geographical environment played a central role in the establishment of the isolated Presidio de Santa Barbara. From the times of Santa Barbara’s earliest inhabitants, the Chumash, to the Spanish explorers and on through the Mexican-American Rancho Periods, the significance of the sea has shaped and influenced our American Riviera.

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