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History of Old Spanish Days Fiesta

Imagine California’s Santa Barbara in the 1820s:  the centuries-old Native American presence meeting the recently-founded mission, church, and presidio culture; the grand family ranchos and vaqueros; the blending of cultures through songs, dance and lifestyle, creating timeless traditions.

Santa Barbarans have long embraced their city’s Native American, Spanish and Mexican heritages. Passed down for generations, the early California family traditions of colorful music, dance and horsemanship, together with a vaquero spirit of friendliness, hospitality and tolerance, are part of this heritage, which embodies Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

Since Fiesta’s inception in 1924, the citizens of this fine city remained steadfast to preserve, perpetuate and most of all, celebrate, what makes Santa Barbara so unique. Over the years, the Old Spanish Days celebration has come to embody more than a dozen distinct events and locations, budding with Santa Barbara’s local color, tradition and heritage.

These events draw tens of thousands of local residents and visitors alike. The Fiesta coffee table book is a timeless snapshot into the best of the Fiesta traditions and celebrations.