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Local News

Santa Barbara’s 235th Birthday Is a Celebration for the Ages — and All Ages

While marking founding milestone, officials credit community's cultural and historical heritage for its past, present and future strength


Santa Barbara celebrated its 235th birthday Saturday by saluting its past as well as its present during a ceremony at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park.

Community members gathered at the downtown intersection of East Canon Perdido and Santa Barbara streets for the annual Founding Day Festival.

The free, family-friendly event was more than a commemoration of the original 1782 establishment of the Santa Barbara Presidio, however.

“It is a celebration of the diverse communities that helped to shape our city and the local organizations and artists that continue to make Santa Barbara a great place to visit and live today,” said Kevin McGarry, director of programs at the nonprofit Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, which aims to preserve, restore, reconstruct and interpret historic sites in Santa Barbara County.

“Our annual festival is a reminder that history is never an open and closed book, and that we are connected to the past through our shared human experiences and the interactions we share in safe, educational spaces.”

Part of what makes Santa Barbara such a wonderful place to live, he said, is the cultural heritage that is infused in the community.

“Santa Barbara stands out because its location and climate led to a unique and layered cultural history,” McGarry said.

The Founding Day Festival featured local musicians and performers, including the San Marcos High School jazz band, the Folk Orchestra of Santa Barbara, Mariachi Las Olas de Santa Barbara, the Linda Vega Dance Studio and Santa Barbara guitarist and composer Chris Fossek.

McGarry estimated that 800 to 1,200 people attended the one-day event.

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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