As Old Spanish Days celebrates its 90th year, come support and enjoy some of the most talented young dancers in Santa Barbara County as they compete to become the 2014 Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta.
The pageantry of Old Spanish Days Fiesta will be on full display at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 12 when 23 young women step on the stage of the Santa Barbara High School Auditorium, 700 E. Anapamu St., to dance for the honor of serving as Spirits and ambassadors for Fiesta 2014.
Tickets for this special event are now on sale for $25 at the Old Spanish Days office, 129 Castillo St. Each $25 ticket includes access to the reception immediately following the auditions, called Las Artistas. Taking place at the historic El Paseo Restaurant, Las Artistas will celebrate the participants and allow the public to meet the audition finalists, the two new Spirits of Fiesta as well as past Spirits.
If you do not have a Spirit audition ticket, the price for Las Artistas will be $15 and tickets will be available at the door. There will be a buffet reception and cash bar from 3:30 to 6 p.m.
The Spirit of Fiesta auditions is the beginning of the 2014 Old Spanish Days-Fiesta season, and this year marks the 65th anniversary for the Spirit of Fiesta as part of Old Spanish Days.
The Spirit of Fiesta represents the charm, grace and beauty of the culture of Old Spanish Days. She will attend numerous social events during Old Spanish Days Fiesta. The Spirit helps to open Fiesta by dancing solo on the steps of the Old Mission Santa Barbara at La Fiesta Pequeña. During La Fiesta Pequeña, the Spirit is dressed in a dazzling white dance costume of Spanish style, and she wears the same dress for the El Desfile Histórico parade that Friday. She also performs for receptions held by civic organizations. Audiences always express great anticipation and delight at performances by the Spirits of Fiesta.
In more recent years, a Junior Spirit of Fiesta selection has been made among the younger students of dance. The girl or boy selected dances at the head of El Desfile de Los Niños (Children’s Parade), at Tardes de Ronda, and at festive events including the mercados.
The entire community looks forward to the public announcement of the identities of the Spirit of Fiesta and the Junior Spirit of Fiesta 2014. The dancers selected truly exemplify the “spirit” of our celebration.
Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to honoring and preserving Santa Barbara’s history, spirit, culture, heritage and traditions. This 90-year-old organization produces an annual five-day festival — Fiesta — that is widely regarded as Santa Barbara’s premier festival. Old Spanish-Days Fiesta is put on by an all-volunteer board of directors.
— Erik Davis is the public relations chair for Old Spanish Days Fiesta.