Sunday, October 23 , 2016, 12:10 am | A Few Clouds 53º

  • Follow Noozhawk on LinkedIn
  • Follow Noozhawk on Pinterest
  • Follow Noozhawk on YouTube

Local News

Project Fiesta Gives Santa Barbara Historical Museum a Broader View of Our Favorite Festival

Exhibit, open through Sept. 28, chronicles evolution of Old Spanish Days and the highlights of its history

In celebration of the 90th anniversary of Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum is hosting “Project Fiesta,” an exhibit that highlights the history of Santa Barbara’s most popular cultural festival. The exhibit outlines Fiesta’s history by decade, and features vintage posters, artwork, costumes, artifacts, photos and more.

Founded in 1932, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum is located at 136 E. De la Guerra St. in the historic El Pueblo Viejo district. The museum works to interpret and analyze more than 500 years of history, and includes collections from the Chumash, Mexican, Spanish and American periods.

The exhibit, which runs through Sept. 28, provides visitors with the opportunity to learn more about Fiesta’s cultural significance and widespread impact. In addition to collecting images and other artifacts, the exhibition gather stories and oral histories from festival participants. Quotes from influential figures accompany the historical timeline and narrate the evolution of Fiesta over the years.

The first Fiesta was held in 1924 to honor Santa Barbara’s Spanish and Mexican roots. The festivals quickly gained popularity, and during the 1930s, Fiesta’s audience extended into Hollywood and beyond.

1941 Fiesta poster. (Santa Barbara Historical Museum photo)
1941 Fiesta poster. (Santa Barbara Historical Museum photo)

Celebrities like Leo Carrillo and political luminaries like California governors traveled to celebrate the local festival and attracted more people to the event.

Despite its popularity, Fiesta was not immune to disruption. Fiesta experienced its first cancelations in the 1940s during World War II. The festival was canceled from 1942 to 1945 and then again in 1948 because of a severe drought.

By the 1960s, however, Fiesta’s major events were set in place. The festival attracted thousands of visitors and to this day serves as a major boost to Santa Barbara’s economy.

Although “Project Fiesta” is a seasonal exhibit, the museum features exhibits year round and serves as an important resource for local historians. For example, the Gledhill Library is open to the public, and its collections focus on the history of Santa Barbara County.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. 

Noozhawk contributing writer Allyson Werner can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

The De la Guerra family in 1924, in a photo from the collection of John Woodward. (Santa Barbara Historical Museum photo)
The De la Guerra family in 1924, in a photo from the collection of John Woodward. (Santa Barbara Historical Museum photo)

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >