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Fiesta Ranchera Gives Guests a Taste — and a Sip — of Old Spanish Days Hospitality

10th annual party at Rancho La Patera and Stow House brings out a crowd eager to dine, drink and dance

The 2017 Fiesta Spirit, Norma Escárcega, 17, left, and Junior Spirit Eve Flores, 10, get a photo opportunity with a fan during the 10th annual Fiesta Ranchera at Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta. Click to view larger
The 2017 Fiesta Spirit, Norma Escárcega, 17, left, and Junior Spirit Eve Flores, 10, get a photo opportunity with a fan during the 10th annual Fiesta Ranchera at Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

More than a thousand community members experienced a taste of the upcoming 2017 Old Spanish Days Fiesta season Thursday evening at the 10th annual Fiesta Ranchera in Goleta.

The four-hour event, co-hosted by Old Spanish Days and the Goleta Valley Historical Society, featured food and drinks provided by local restaurants, wineries and breweries, as well as dancing and live music at the Rancho La Patera & Stow House.

The guests — many of whom dressed in handmade and traditional Spanish outfits and cowboy and cowgirl garb — mingled around the grounds in an atmosphere that felt more like a family reunion, albeit a really large one.

The event was a fitting way to celebrate California’s cultural heritage.

The historic venue, formerly the headquarters of Rancho La Patera, was established in 1873. The rancho is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is considered the oldest commercial citrus ranch in California.

The 2017 Fiesta Spirit Norma Escárcega, 17, and Junior Spirit Eve Flores, 10, were on hand to greet guests and in attendance for photo opportunities.

“I’m enjoying every moment of Fiesta,” Escárcega told Noozhawk. “I’m excited to be in attendance with the Junior Spirit of Fiesta. She is a ray of sunshine.”

Old Spanish Days Fiesta celebrates the Rancho Period, which ran roughly from 1824 to 1864. The community’s annual festival was first held in 1924.

La Presidente Rhonda Ledson Henderson has selected “Unity through Community” as this year’s theme. The saying pays tribute to the late Father Virgil Cordano, who spent his career at the Santa Barbara Mission and was a member of the Old Spanish Days board for 45 years. Cordano died in 2008 at age 89.

Fiesta events begin Aug. 2 and continue to Aug. 6.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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.

Santa Barbara Paella Catering and its custom paella pan were a popular attraction at Fiesta Ranchera. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara Paella Catering and its custom paella pan were a popular attraction at Fiesta Ranchera. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)
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