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Old Spanish Days Fiesta Organizers Saddle Up for Another Festival Season

El Presidente Josiah Jenkins will preside over the ‘Vaqueros y Vaqueras’-themed community celebration

It’s never too early to start thinking about the 2013 Old Spanish Days Fiesta, and organizers of the traditional event presented a list of reasons why on Wednesday.

Amid intermittent shouts of “Viva la Fiesta!,” event officials shared details and dates concerning this year’s 89th annual Tri-County celebration during a kickoff news conference at the historic Carriage & Western Art Museum.

This year’s Fiesta, running July 31 through Aug. 4, will boast the theme “Vaqueros y Vaqueras,” or “cowboys and cowgirls.”

El Presidente Josiah Jenkins, who presides over the celebration, was given a warm welcome after brief remarks from Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and Goleta Mayor Roger Aceves, who served as El Presidente in 2001.

Both emphasized the boost the event rooted in tradition gives to local spirits and the economy, and the amount of work that goes into preparing for the weeklong festival, beginning right after the end of the prior year’s event.

Jenkins, a Santa Barbara native and fifth-generation Californian, has been involved with Fiesta since 1976, when he first volunteered. He has since worked his way up through the ranks to the esteemed position he’s proud to accept.

“It takes us all to put this together,” said Jenkins, 50, who owns Jedlicka’s Western Wear at 2605 De la Vina St. “It is definitely an honor to be a part of an organization that’s been around since 1924.”

Jenkins said the event will “freshen up” its dances this year and focus on honoring its past presidents during the Recepcion del Presidente on Sunday, July 28.

“It’s not about the current presidents but all the predecessors,” he said. “I’m here because of those people.”

Fiesta visitors can expect to see the traditional Fiesta Rodeo and Stock Horse Show, as well as the return of last year’s popular events — wild-cow milking among them.

The 2013 celebration will add a third day for children’s events, and the rodeo will participate for the first time in Wrangler’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink Charity Program. Duane Baxley, a Paso Robles cattleman, will receive the Honorary Vaquero honor.

Officials said the event could still use more volunteers and additional sponsors. Click here for more information.

Upcoming events include Spirit of Fiesta auditions on Saturday, April 20, La Primavera on Sunday, May 19, Fiesta Ranchera on Thursday, June 20, and the Recepcion del Presidente on Sunday, July 28.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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