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Thursday, January 24 , 2019, 5:44 am | Fair 42º


El Desfile De Los Niños Captures the Magic of Fiesta Through Children’s Eyes

Thousands line up again as kids of all ages transform State Street into a parade route for the shorter set

Children dressed in colorful attire showed off their Old Spanish Days Fiesta song-and-dance routines as they paraded down State Street during Saturday’s El Desfile De Los Niños. Click to view larger
Children dressed in colorful attire showed off their Old Spanish Days Fiesta song-and-dance routines as they paraded down State Street during Saturday’s El Desfile De Los Niños. (Manon Fage / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

El Desfile De Los Niños (the Children’s Parade)​ celebrated its 85th year Saturday, under dreary skies brightened by the smiles and laughter of thousands of spectators.

Organized by the City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department and sponsored by MarBorg Industries and the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation, the Children’s Parade is an integral and favorite part of Santa Barbara’s week-long Old Spanish Days Fiesta celebration.

El Presidente Cas Stimson and his wife and two daughters opened the parade, marching side-by-side in festive outfits as a sign of what was to come.

This year’s Junior Spirit of Fiesta, Ysabella Yturralde, danced down State Street in her white dress, leading miniature flamenco dancers and Fiesta Flower girls, who showered the crowds lining the sidewalks between Victoria and Ortega streets with confetti and flowers.

Thousands of parade participants followed, shouting, “Viva la Fiesta!” Boys in fake mustaches and sombreros rode tricycles or pulled their sisters — who wore bright lipstick and flamenco dresses — in wagons.

The annual parade has a strong tradition in Santa Barbar.

“Families entering for the first time are joined by families who are 10th- or more generation parade participants,” according to the Parks & Recreation Department website. “An entry can be one family of three, a family of siblings and all the cousins, an entire neighborhood or special clubs/groups.”

Twirling and sashaying through the parade were dance groups like Alonzo Dance Company, the Linda Vega Dance Studio, West Coast Ballet, Just Dance Lompoc, and many others from all over the Central Coast.

Gymnasts with the Santa Barbara Gymnastics Club flew and flipped through the air. Numerous preschools and youth organizations, like the United Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County and Isla Vista Youth Projects also walked in the parade.

Participation in the parade is always free of charge, and all participants received free ice cream at its conclusion.

As in years past, onlookers of the Children’s Parade could not help but catch the Fiesta spirit exhibited by so many young and enthusiastic participants. All left the two-hour parade with confetti in their hair and smiles on their faces.

Noozhawk contributing writer Serena Doubleday can be reached at [email protected] Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Before the parade, the look of anticipation, with confetti on top. Click to view larger
Before the parade, the look of anticipation, with confetti on top. (Eva Turenchalk photo via Instagram)

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