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Letter to the Editor: Are Fiesta’s Changing of Traditions Good for Santa Barbara?

Congratulations to Alexis Simentales and Sarah Naretto on being selected Spirit and Junior Spirit of this year’s Fiesta. My family and I have celebrated Fiesta for decades and are big supporters of our dance community.

Unfortunately I was surprised to learn that this year’s El Presidente, Mr. J.C. Gordon, doesn’t live in Santa Barbara County. It has been a rule that the Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta must live in Santa Barbara County. To my knowledge, no El Presidente has ever lived outside of Santa Barbara County.

Furthermore, because Mr. Gordon does not live in Santa Barbara County, this created a problem at the Spirit auditions. When I asked to buy a program, I was told by a Fiesta official that Mr. Gordon left the programs at his home in Ventura and he had sent someone back to Ventura to get them. The programs didn’t arrive until the very end of the intermission, and after the Junior Spirit auditions were over. My friends who put an ad in the program for their dancers and businesses felt disrespected.

I’m concerned that Fiesta is losing touch with the Santa Barbara community.

Juan Robles
Santa Barbara

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