Sunday, May 1 , 2016, 8:30 am | Fair 60º

Children’s Parade Brings Out the Kids for 84th Annual Fiesta Tradition

Flamenco dancers lead the way for scores of youth organizations amid cheers from spectators and a blizzard of cascarones confetti

Colorful dancers twirled and tapped their way down State Street on Saturday as part of the 84th annual El Desfile De Los Niños in Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
Colorful dancers twirled and tapped their way down State Street on Saturday as part of the 84th annual El Desfile De Los Niños in Santa Barbara. (Fritz Olenberger / Old Spanish Days photo)

By Allyson Werner, Noozhawk Contributing Writer | @NoozhawkNews |

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery from Fritz Olenberger of Old Spanish Days.]

Old Spanish Days Fiesta honored Santa Barbara’s roots with its annual El Desfile De Los Niños on Saturday. By 10 a.m., families had lined both sides of downtown State Street with their beach chairs and picnic blankets, eagerly awaiting the beloved Children’s Parade.

The parade attracted youth groups from throughout Santa Barbara County. Dozens of organizations and many families celebrated the 84th anniversary of the Fiesta tradition.

Santa Barbara dance companies danced their ways down State Street, and members of the Santa Barbara Gymnastics Club showed off their cartwheel and split moves.

Dancers from Linda Vega Dance Studio were dressed in elaborate costumes and demonstrated a choreographed routine at stop lights. The dancers were mostly young girls ages 5-16.

In addition, educational organizations such as Head Start and the Isla Vista Youth Projects marched down State Street displaying their banners. Both organizations work hard to educate Santa Barbara youth from less-fortunate socio-economic backgrounds.

Participants ahouted “¡Viva La Fiesta!” and received warm responses and enthusiastic cheers from the parade’s many spectators.

Children dressed in elaborate costumes celebrated Fiesta by throwing cascarones at family and friends. The hollowed-out chicken eggs are filled with confetti, and as a result, confetti blanketed the streets.

The parade is organized by the Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department, and more than 2,500 children (and their families) participate each year.

Families and youth organizations from throughout the county are invited to march in the parade each year, and applications can be found on the Fiesta website.

Many organizations and families return year after year to celebrate Santa Barbara’s most popular cultural festival.

Click here for more information about Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

Noozhawk contributing writer Allyson Werner can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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