Our Three Greatest Fiesta Loves

Old Spanish Days Fiesta is a much-anticipated celebration of Santa Barbara’s historical roots. Drawing thousands of people downtown, there is a mixed love and hate relationship among locals. But who can hate the delightful mix of food, history, dancing and colorful weeklong revelry? Read on for some of our Fiesta favorites.


They’re messy. They’re festive. They’re downright fun. This tradition that is said to bestow luck when confetti-filled eggs are smashed on your head has us thinking that stockpiling for the upcoming months may not be such a bad idea after all. Who says Christmas can’t have cascarones? Viva la!


This is a festival for movers and shakers, amateurs and professionals. On any given night you can join a cadre of salsa dancers that congregate in the plazas and are shimmying until they get sent home. We also love the irresistible swirl of a full flamenco skirt coupled with the rhythmic palmas (clapping) and golpes (stomping) performed on many stages throughout the week. Flamenco is such an important part of the festivities starting with the selection of the Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta in April. These young women compete to earn the coveted title by showcasing their flamenco skills. Whether it’s live mariachi or an awe-inspiring flamenco guitarist, music and dance is the life force of this festival.

Diversity In All Things

Tourists and locals. Pancake breakfast and elotes (Mexican street corn). Rodeo and the children’s parade. The contrast and coming together of such a variety of things is part of what makes such a popular event. Old Spanish Days is a celebration steeped in history, mixed with tolerance and enjoyed by many. Some party for the margaritas and still others to acknowledge the path and people that led to our great city and yet all are welcome, encouraged and appreciated.

What are your favorites?