Last Monday evening, the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors hosted a Fiesta kickoff party at our beautiful, historic building on Chapala Street — maybe you were there.

If you were, I’m sure you had a festive time. One of our guests was La Presidenta Joanne Funari, and I want to include an excerpt from her “Welcome” message:

“Santa Barbara is truly the American Riviera — with its favorable climate, breathtaking landscapes, vibrant lifestyle and, most importantly, the character and perseverance of its citizens.

“Oh, the excitement of Fiesta — the stages filled with whirling dancers in beautiful costumes, the sound of mariachis strolling the streets, the smells of authentic food and the lively entertainment of the Mercados, the dangerous tests of courage and skill in the rodeo, the floats and equestrian teams, the grandeur of the parade. It is a celebration of life, history, community and cultural diversity — a celebration of Santa Barbara.”

Whether you are a native or are new to our fair city, one must experience Old Spanish Days if you are to be a true Santa Barbaran. The Spanish influence on our community is unmistakable — and quite indelible.

In its 87th year, it’s hard to imagine August in Santa Barbara without thinking about Fiesta. Indeed, it’s a celebration of Santa Barbara!

And as Realtors, we have the privilege of celebrating our incredible community on a daily basis.

So, whether you celebrate Fiesta or not, we hope you celebrate and enjoy all that is our beloved Santa Barbara. And if you do enjoy Fiesta this year, it’s just another reminder of one more thing we all love about and are grateful for in Santa Barbara.

Paul Suding, a real estate agent with Cool Santa Barbara Homes and Village Properties, is president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. He can be contacted at paul@villagesite.com or 805.455.8055.