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Old Spanish Days Warms Up with Vibrant Costumes Displayed at Annual Fiesta Sale

Flamenco dresses and accessories are sold ahead of this year's Old Spanish Days events, planned for Aug. 2-6


Santa Barbara native and seamstress Gloria Macartney — approaching her 75th birthday this month — travels to the fabric district in downtown Los Angeles to select vibrant cloth material.

Macartney began making handmade children’s flamenco printed dresses for her daughter more than 35 years ago and hasn’t stopped since.

The fabric ultimately becomes fluttery dresses for the Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

The sun's warm July rays glistened on the black-on-white, pink-on-white, green-on-white and red-on-white polka-dot dresses on display last weekend at the Old Spanish Day's annual Fiesta costume sale. 

“I only make dresses with the polka-dot fabric,” Macartney said.

Her dresses were among many costumes and accessories that filled the Carriage and Western Art Museum parking lot Saturday.

Macartney often works side-by-side with her 95-year-old mother.

“My mom will help cut and sew,” Macartney said. “It’s a pleasure, and the best part is seeing the kids in the children’s parade (El Desfile De Los Niños). I love it. I meet a lot of people, and it’s nice to see old friends.”

Handmade children’s flamenco dresses made by Gloria Macartney on display at Old Spanish Day’s annual Fiesta costume sale. Click to view larger
Handmade children’s flamenco dresses made by Gloria Macartney on display at Old Spanish Day’s annual Fiesta costume sale. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

On average, the small children’s costumes take about one day to make and cost around $35 to $45. The large sizes take about two days to complete, she said. 

The outfits are customized to fit every body type. The printed dress can be paired with a flower hair clip and earrings to make the best impression.

Rows of frilly, vibrant and floral trajes de flamenca (flamenco outfits) with narrow bodices, decorated with sweeping skirts were for sale, along with hats, blouses and other clothing. 

“Fiesta is what brings our community together and recognizing Santa Barbara’s culture,” said Fran Mackey, who is on the Board of Directors for Old Spanish Days.

“It’s my heritage. My grandmother was born in Mexico and her family came from Spain.”

Lively outfits have long been a major part of Old Spanish Days, which is being celebrated Aug. 2-6 this year.

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.

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