The late-afternoon affair featured a wide assortment of Fiesta costumes, an authentic Mexican menu, and wonderful dance performances by 2013 Spirit of Fiesta Corrie Jimenez, Junior Spirit of Fiesta Kailani Cordero and others. Many costumed guests were seen dancing away the evening as the sun set on the ocean across the street on Cabrillo Boulevard. Both live mariachis and a DJ supplied musical entertainment throughout the evening.
El Presidente Jenkins got the party started by sauntering on horseback into the rotunda on "Homer." This year’s El Presidente says he is no "city slicker." Jenkins has had a longtime association with Old Spanish Days, especially the Fiesta Stock Horse Show and Rodeo. He recognized his father, Si Jenkins, and mother Karen for instilling in him the tradition of Fiesta. The family owns the western shop Jedlicka’s.
Si Jenkins was an active participant in the Fiesta Stock Horse Show and Rodeo. He won a headstall in the 1950s at Pershing Park, before the Earl Warren Showgrounds were built. He was an organizer and announcer at the rodeo for years. Karen Jenkins has been in the Fiesta parade many times and provided horses to other Presidentes over the years. In fact, the 2013 Old Spanish Days poster features Si and Karen Jenkins as the two riders in the art piece. The apt poster theme is “Vaqueros y Vaqueros."
“I want to take the opportunity to express my appreciation for my parents — my father Si, at 80 years young, and my mother Karen, who is the number one groom in the land — feeding, watering, cleaning and exercising the horses daily," Josiah Jenkins said. "It is because of their love and assistance that I have been able to play such a big part in the community for so long. I wouldn’t be how I am today if it wasn’t for them.”
Of course, it takes village to raise a Fiesta, and the all-important sponsors were recognized for their generous support.
The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians was acknowledged for its solid support and sponsorship. Impulse Advanced Communications commanded another top sponsorship spot and was represented by a full table with President Dave Clark and his wife, Colleen. Sponsor Union Bank also had a friendly and enthusiastic table hosted by CEO George Leis, Randy Weiss, Felicia Sutherland and others.
Other important supporters included Noozhawk, Cox Communications, the City of Santa Barbara, Jordano’s, MarBorg Industries, KEYT, Paseo Nuevo and La Cumbre shopping centers, Business First Bank, Montecito Bank & Trust, Albertsons, Classic Party Rentals, Pacific Beverage, Brown & Brown Insurance, FLIR, Service Master, Luners, Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf, the Santa Barbara News-Press and others.
In all, 19 past El Presidentes were present at this year’s reception, including Bill Redding, Joanne Funari, Kris Kallman, Kelly Magne, Tim Taylor, Michael Mendowz, Herbert Barthels DDS, William Luton Jr., Roger Aceves, Ruth Kallman (representing the beloved Bob Kallman) and many others.
The 2013 Spirit of Fiesta Corrie Jimenez dedicated her opening dance to her great-uncle, 1976 El Presidente Rudy Castillo (the oldest of the Presidentes at the reception), who attended the event with her proud parents, Carlos and Debbie Jimenez. Corrie will be starting her senior year at San Marcos High School this fall.
Now in its 89th year, Old Spanish Days unofficially starts with the El Reception del Presidente. After the mercados, parade and concerts, the celebration closes on Sunday with the West Coast Symphony’s 46th Annual Fiesta Concert. Viva la Fiesta!