Joyful kids of all ages took over State Street in downtown Santa Barbara on Saturday for El Desfile De Los Niños (Children’s Parade).
Downtown brightened up with thousands of smiling youth shouting “Viva La Fiesta!” during the 87th annual celebration.
Suddenly, as festive music played from the boom boxes being pulled down the parade route, everyone participating — including those watching and sitting in chairs on the sidewalks — danced and clapped along.
More than 170 community groups, local youth athletic organizations, dance academies, high school participants and families from throughout the Central Coast participated in the free event.
The children’s parade, organized by the City of Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department, was one of dozens of events during Santa Barbara’s five-day Old Spanish Days festivities. Event organizers estimate more than 2,500 children and their families marched down State Street, starting at Victoria Street and ending at Ortega Street.
Young revelers threw multicolored flowers from their hand-pulled carts and wagons to the spectators who came out to cheer them on.
Boys were dressed in cowboy hats or sombrero cordobés and short jackets, and some wore fake mustaches while they zipped down the street on razor scooters and pranced around in cardboard horse costumes.
Girls twirled their traditional flamenco skirts and dressed in vibrant polka dot, red or floral patterns, with small roses behind their ears and their hair in slick, low buns.
Jasmin Medina, a student at Lincoln Elementary School in Ventura, was among the most unique parade figures. She was passing out something different — toothbrushes.
The first-time parade participant, wearing a handmade pink and black ruffled skirt, walked alongside members of the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics.
Even though she wasn’t throwing small pieces of paper to onlookers, the 8-year-old said she was most excited for the tradition of smashing colorful confetti-filled cascarónes.
The Children’s Fiesta Parade is funded by a grant from the Wood-Claeyssens Foundation and hosted by the Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department.
The 93rd Old Spanish Days Fiesta, a Santa Barbara tradition since 1924, heated up Wednesday and concludes Sunday afternoon. Click here for a complete schedule of events.
— Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.