Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 9:31 pm | Fair 55º

 
 
 
 

Thousands Gather to Celebrate Santa Barbara’s 93rd Annual El Desfile Histórico

Procession on State Street downtown is a highlight of Old Spanish Days Fiesta

 

Colorful floats along with high-spirited music, dancing, confetti and galloping horses marked Friday’s 93rd annual El Desfile Histórico, the historical parade that is a highlight of Santa Barbara's Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

Spectators, with chairs and blankets, went the extra mile to secure front-row views along the parade route on State Street and the west end of Cabrillo Boulevard.  

The annual Fiesta celebration is known as one of the largest equestrian parades in the nation, featuring more than 600 horses, dancers, antique carriages, coaches, floats and wagons.

This year, 77 groups from all over Southern California participated.

A Fiesta flower girl tosses brightly colored roses and daisies into the crowd along State Street during the parade. Click to view larger
A Fiesta flower girl tosses brightly colored roses and daisies into the crowd along State Street during the parade. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

El Desfile Histórico featured color guard flag carriers, historical reenactments by nonprofit organizations and clubs, appearances from U.S. Forest Service representatives and local officials, including the City Council members and Police Chief Lori Luhnow.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Mounted Unit and mounted police groups from across California waved at Santa Barbarans and out-of-towners filling the streets.

High school marching bands and mariachi groups in wide-brimmed sombreros with drums, guitars and trumpets got people's — and horses' — feet moving.

Always a crowd favorite, Western riders dressed in traditional costumes displayed their mounts’ side-stepping dance moves and trotting demonstrations to the lively music.

More than 140 Fiesta Flower Girls led the parade for the 69th consecutive year. 

The popular confetti-filled eggs known as cascarones were in abundant supply Friday during the annual Fiesta historical parade in Santa Barbara. Click to view larger
The popular confetti-filled eggs known as cascarones were in abundant supply Friday during the annual Fiesta historical parade in Santa Barbara. (Zack Warburg / Noozhawk photo)

The girls, ages 6 to 17, tossed brightly colored roses and daisies into the crowd from their baskets and welcomed thousands of onlookers with the greeting of “Viva la Fiesta!”

The group was accompanied by Las Senoritas, former flower girls who help supervise and mentor the young ambassadors for Old Spanish Days.

Miniature therapy horses and their handlers, dressed in traditional style outfits from Mexico, followed.

Spirit of Fiesta Norma Escárcega, adorning in a white flamenco outfit, and several costumed dancers behind her charmed viewers with their dance moves along the parade course.

Fiesta La Presidente Rhonda Henderson waves to the crowds along the parade route. Click to view larger
Fiesta La Presidente Rhonda Henderson waves to the crowds along the parade route. (Fritz Olenberger photo)

Musicians from Mariachi Mexicanisimo, a group that has been participating in the parade for 11 years, provided musical accompaniment for the Spirit of Fiesta.

The 2017 Saint Barbara, Robin Hill Cederlof, and Junior Spirit, Eve Flores, also made a special appearance.

The Santa Barbara Firefighters Association and The Castro Family Party float closed the parade, drawing thunderous cheers from the crowd.

Standing amid the sidewalk of multicolored confetti on the corner of Carrillo and State streets was Lindsay Terifay.

A rider and horse entertain the crowd during the annual Fiesta historical parade in Santa Barbara on Friday. Click to view larger
A rider and horse entertain the crowd during the annual Fiesta historical parade in Santa Barbara on Friday. (Fritz Olenberger photo)

She traveled from Hollywood to visit a friend in Santa Barbara.

“It’s my first time watching the parade, and I’m blown away with how great it is,” Terifay said.

“The confetti is fun.” 

The Fiesta celebrations continue through Sunday and a full schedule of events can be found here

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.

A float depicting the Santa Barbara MIssion makes its way down the parade route. Click to view larger
A float depicting the Santa Barbara MIssion makes its way down the parade route. (Fritz Olenberger photo)

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