Pages Menu

Adventures of a Carry-on travel blog

Categories Menu

Posted by | 18 comments

Fiesta Santa Barbara Historical Parade

I love a good parade – don’t you? One of the best parades I’ve ever seen is in Santa Barbara during the “Old Spanish Days Fiesta” celebrations. This year should be an especially good one, as it’s the ninetieth anniversary of the Fiesta Santa Barbara Historical Parade, although they are all good.

The parade commemorates the history and culture of the Native Americans and Spanish-speaking Mexicans who originally settled the area. Santa Barbara is a truly unique city that has retained and nurtured its Spanish/Mexican heritage.

Old Spanish Days
is one big colorful party. This year, it begins on July 31 and ends on August 3rd, 2014. The parade is on Friday, August 1st.
Aside from the parade, if you are in Santa Barbara discover the markets, parties,concerts, rodeos, regional food, wine, and shopping. For architecture lovers be sure to take a tour of the courthouse and the Old Mission Santa Barbara.

Fiesta Santa Barbara @PennySadler 2014

Fiesta Historical Parade, Santa Barbara

Fiesta parade Santa Barbraa @PennySadler 2014

Past President’s Float

Fiesta Historiacl Parade

Love these smiling ladies

From the Old Spanish Days website:

“Our tradition of handsome horses, expert equestrians, rodeo competitions with skillful cowboys, singing and dancing and delight in welcoming visitors: these are the things we commemorate and celebrate in our Old Spanish Days as they have been treasured in our community for over 180 years.
To this purpose we dedicate our ninetieth year of Santa Barbara’s Fiesta. If during the days you spend with us enjoying the music, dance and fun, you leave with a deeper appreciation of our history and of the traditions of our earlier cultures, our efforts will have been rewarded.”

Fiesta Historical Parade @PennySadler 2014

Pretty ladies – Fiesta Historical Parade

Fiesta Parade Santa Barbara @PennySadler 2014

Vacquero riding in the Fiesta Parade

Flower girls, Fiesta Santa Barbara @PennySadler 2014

Flower girls lead the parade

And don’t forget, Santa Barbara is known as the American Riviera – you can go swimming, surfing, and play volleyball on some of the most pristine beaches anywhere, or just enjoy the million dollar views from a outdoor table at one of the harbor cafes.

Part of the fun of going to the parade is getting dressed up in a western or Mexican inspired wardrobe that might seem out of place anywhere else, but seems just right at the parade. Really anything goes – it’s the place to wear that big sombrero you purchased on vacation in Mexico (now gathering dust on a shelf), or full on western wear including chaps and spurs. I’ve seen it all at the parade. I’m getting geared up for
the parade now, planning what I’m going to wear. (Don’t worry if you don’t have anything or playing dress up just isn’t for you, plenty of people go in that good old American standard, shorts and t-shirts.)

Fiesta parade Santa Barbara @PennySadler

Fun wardrobe

Now do you see how beautiful this parade is – the horses, the costumes, all set against the charming Spanish architecture of Santa Barbara. Come back in August to see photos from this year’s upcoming Fiesta Historical Parade.

Fiesta Santa Barbara @PennySadler 2014

A Fiesta tradition, breaking a confetti egg


Fiesta Santa Barbara @PennySadler 2014

The girls are ready to party

  1. Great photos. I love parade wear the participants dress-up too! Thanks for sharing the history behind the parade.

  2. My lord, that’s a colourful and well-organised parade. Feels really retro, optimistic, in a 1950s sort of way.

  3. Beautiful! Reminds me of Feria de Abril in Sevilla 🙂 Especially with the beautiful dresses and hair.

    • Many people have commented how much it reminds them of Spain. That’s no accident. 🙂

  4. Your photos are such a delight, especially the confetti one! I had no idea about this festival. Thanks for letting us know!

  5. We’re seeing some Andalucian influences there as well as Mexicans. Lovely photos, as always, Penny. Full of colour.

    • The city really embraces its heritage. Nice to see!

  6. This looks like a fun parade – so colorful! We haven’t visited Santa Barbara, but we hear it’s lovely.

  7. Love this – what colors and fun! Can’t wait to see the photos from this year’s parade, too!

    • I can’t wait to go to the parade this year! Thanks for the comments.

  8. that’s a gorgeous parade, i love horse units and their riders in full costume, beautiful. thanks for sharing these Penny

    • Part of the beauty is the scenery in the background.


  1. Santa Barbara California Wine Country - […] July, I was in Santa Barbara for Fiesta and some wine tasting in the Santa Ynez Valley. I’d been…
  2. Fiesta Santa Barbara: Photo Essay - Adventures of a Carry-On - […] written a lot about the Fiesta Santa Barbara Historical Parade in previous articles, so I’m just going to get…

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *