I love a good parade – don’t you? One of the best parades I’ve ever seen is the historical parade in Santa Barbara during the “Old Spanish Days Fiesta” celebrations. This year should be an especially good one, as it’s the 90th anniversary of the Fiesta Santa Barbara Historical Parade, although they are all good.
What is the historical parade all about?
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.
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 90th 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.”
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, you can explore the markets, enjoy parties and concerts, rodeos, regional food and wine, and shopping. For architecture lovers, be sure to take a tour of the courthouse and the Old Mission Santa Barbara.
Part of the fun of going to the parade is dressing the part: Spanish – western style wardrobe that might seem out of place anywhere else. 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. 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.)
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 an outdoor table at one of the harbor cafes.
Now that you see how beautiful this parade is – the horses, the costumes, all set against the charming Spanish architecture of Santa Barbara, plan a visit in August to see this year’s upcoming Fiesta Historical Parade.
VIVA LA FIESTA!