Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 6:48 pm | Fair 66º


Under Gray Skies, Festive Spirit Shines at Sold-Out Fiesta Ranchera

Goleta celebrates its own kickoff with a mix of food, beer, wine and live music at the historic Rancho La Patera and Stow House

Event committee members Steve Golis, left, Michelle Bischoff and Alex Castellanos at Fiesta Ranchera at the historic Rancho La Patera and Stow House in Goleta.
Event committee members Steve Golis, left, Michelle Bischoff and Alex Castellanos at Fiesta Ranchera at the historic Rancho La Patera and Stow House in Goleta. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Fiesta Ranchera — a collaboration of Old Spanish Days and the Goleta Valley Historical Society — was held under gray skies darkened by the active Sherpa Fire nearby. But 1,000 attendees — a sold-out crowd — still enjoyed the mix of food, beer, wine, live music and camaraderie at the historic Rancho La Patera and Stow House in Goleta.

Under the canopy of historic trees, a record number of purveyors pleased the crowd. Local and regional wineries and eateries that participated included Alexander & Wayne, Angel Oak at Bacara Resort & Spa, Anna's Marketplace Bakery, Arthur Earl Winery, Bella Cavalli Farms & Vineyard, Benchmark Eatery, Brophy's OTA, Caffe Primo, Captain Fatty's, Catering Connection, Country Meat Market & Catering, Enegren Brewing Co., Farmer Boy, Foley Food & Wine Society, Goodland Kitchen, High Sierra Bar & Grill, Hollister Brewing Co., Knee Deep Brewing, McConnell's Fine Ice Cream, Nothing Bundt Cakes, The Nugget Bar and Grill, Palmina Wines, Pepe’s Finest Mexican Food, Rincon Events, Santa Barbara Gift Baskets, Santa Maria Brewing, Sunstone Winery, Telegraph Brewing Co., Trattoria Grappolo, Windrun Vintners, Woodstock's Pizza, Woody's BBQ and Zaca Mesa Winery.

A small but mighty committee coordinated the whole event, including chair Alex Castellanos, Dacia Harwood, Steve Golis, Sue Schwefel, Tiffany Kishiyama and Past La Presidenta Christie Gallagher. Guests enjoyed the relaxed pace and the spacious lawn and gardens, where they strolled and sampled hearty appetizers and desserts as they celebrated Fiesta in Goleta. Tony Ybarra performed first, providing a Latin vibe, as the lawn area filled with attendees.

The event also included performances by 2016 Spirit of Fiesta Alexis Simenuler.

“I am very honored to be Spirit of Fiesta," she told Noozhawk. "It is a dream come true for me. I have worked long and hard to get here. I started dancing when I was 3.”

Guests were dressed in Western or Fiesta attire, and many joined together on the outdoor dance floor to tunes by local band Area 51. The Rev. Larry Gosselin from Mission Santa Barbara spoke to the crowd and gave a blessing for Fiesta and for the fire personnel fighting the nearby wildfire. Goleta Mayor Jim Farr also greeted the crowd, and everyone joined in a rousing “Viva la Fiesta” chant.

Castellanos, director of Old Spanish Days, told Noozhawk, “I have attended Fiesta Ranchera all nine years, and I think that this year’s format is great. We no longer have a cash bar, and we are fortunate to have so many local purveyors willing to pour their samples.”

There was a special ticket for designated drivers, and Uber partnered to make sure everyone arrived home safely.

Spirit of Fiesta Alexis Simenuler danced at the event.
Spirit of Fiesta Alexis Simenuler danced at the event. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

“I am really proud of the committee for putting on this event," committee volunteer Michelle Bischoff said. "It is a wonderful start of Fiesta.”

Major contributors included Presenting Sponsor Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf; Gold/Founding Sponsor Cox Communications; Silver Sponsors the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, Venoco Inc., Bella Vista Designs and Spark Creative Events; and Bronze Sponsors Catering Connection, MarBorg Industries, Prospect Mortgage-Taylor Team, Radius Group-Steve Golis, Sauza Tequila and Ventura Rental Party Center. Supporters included Gallagher Property Management, JaniCare, Boy Scout Troop 105, Christ Lutheran Church, Circle Bar B Guest Ranch and the City of Goleta.

Rancho La Patera is a focal point of the Goleta Valley’s rich and diverse history for the thousands of visitors who tour annually. The landmark, built in 1872 by the pioneering Stow family, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Goleta Valley Historical Society assumed stewardship of the ranch in 1967 and continues to preserve it for future generations through a partnership with the City of Goleta.

The Goleta Valley Historical Society is celebrating 50 years of preservation. The mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and foster research of the Goleta Valley's history through exhibits, programs and stewardship of Rancho La Patera.

Old Spanish Days is a Santa Barbara tradition that has continued for 92 years. This tradition fosters a unique spirit among locals and tourists who participate, and celebrates the Rancho period (1820-1869), a special era of our history. The important coming together encourages community cooperation, collaboration and growth. It has remained a pivotal festival with its support of other nonprofits in the community.

Click here for more information, or contact Dacia Harwood, events coordinator for the Goleta Valley Historical Society, at 805-637-6783 or [email protected].

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. This article includes reportinf Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

Denise Sanford, left, and Jim Wilcox with Danna McGrew representing sponsor Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf. Click to view larger
Denise Sanford, left, and Jim Wilcox with Danna McGrew representing sponsor Bartlett, Pringle & Wolf. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)
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