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Old Spanish Days Gets into Spirit — and Junior Spirit — of Fiesta

Erika Martin del Campo earns top honor with Tatum Vestal filling junior role

Erika Martin del Campo was crowned 2010 Spirit of Fiesta and Tatum Vestal was named 2010 Junior Spirit of Fiesta after a spirited performance in front of an enthusiastic audience Saturday at La Cumbre Junior High School. A panel of independent judges selected the winners from a field of 22 young women who performed various flamenco and folklórico dances in the Old Spanish Days competition.

Del Campo, 20, is a junior at Claremont McKenna College in Pomona, and is majoring in international relations, Spanish and gender studies. She is a member of the Hispanic Achievement Council and National Honor Society, and is a recipient of the Flamenco Arts Festival Award and Prudential Spirit of Community Award. As Spirit of Fiesta, del Campo wants to “accentuate our community’s diversity of cultures, traditions and heritage.”

Vestal, 10, is a fifth-grader at Marymount of Santa Barbara. She says her favorite school subject is science, she loves sports and said she “wants to share her passion for dance with Santa Barbara.”

The Spirit runner-up is Marissa Urzua, an 18-year-old senior at Cabrillo High in Lompoc. Urzua served as Junior Spirit in 2003, and her mother, Laura Garcia, was Spirit of Fiesta in 1986. Runner-up for the Junior Spirit is Magdalena Diaz, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Miguelito School in Lompoc.

The show will be broadcast by Cox Channel 8 at 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Spirit of Fiesta auditions mark the beginning of Fiesta season for Old Spanish Days. The audition is the culmination of a process that began in the summer of 2009 when 58 young women and men participated in an open pre-audition following last year’s Fiesta. They performed a short dance taped by Fiesta officials, and out-of-town dance judges reviewed the tapes, resulting in the selection of Saturday’s 22 finalists.

— Kathryn McKee represents Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days.

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