Award-winning Spanish flamenco dancer Patricia Guerrero, wearing long ruby red dress and feathery white shawl, strikes a pose onstage.
Award-winning Spanish flamenco dancer Patricia Guerrero strikes a pose onstage. Credit: Courtesy photo

 Fiesta’s La Primavera fundraiser for 2023 will feature a Four Nations dinner, and a performance by one of Spain’s most celebrated flamenco dancers, Patricia Guerrero. The event takes place May 13 at El Paseo Restaurant in Santa Barbara.

Another highlight will be the official first dances of the 2023 Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta, followed by a live auction.

La Primavera will open with a reception at Casa De La Guerra, the former home of José Antonio de la Guerra y Noriega, the last commandant of the Presidio of Santa Barbara.

Later, guests dressed in fancy Fiesta attire will stroll down the “Santa Barbara Street of Spain” and arrive at El Paseo Restaurant for the Four Nations Dinner, honoring the Chumash, Spain, Mexico, and the United States.

Guerrero, whose appearance at La Primavera comes thanks to a donation from the Spanish Office of Tourism in Los Ángeles, has been called “a flamenco dancer of a supernatural force.”

Other performances will be by Manuel Gutierrez, Daniela Zermeño Sanchez and Ryan Zermeño, and Solera by Flamenco!

“The vision for this year’s La Primavera celebration is to honor our history and culture, and also provide an evening of outstanding entertainment and food at one of this town’s most iconic Fiesta venues,” said David Bolton, 2023 el presidente.

“So many memorable Fiesta evenings have taken place at the El Paseo, and there are few venues more historic than Casa De La Guerra. It will be a great evening,” Bolton said.

La Primavera means springtime, the annual season when hide and tallow trade ships arrived to do business in Santa Barbara. The rancheros would get together to celebrate during those Old Spanish Days in the 1800s.

In 1919, a group of local citizens met and organized the La Primavera Association to “perpetuate through a spring festival the memory of the early Spanish and pioneer days of California,” which began the longstanding tradition of hosting a springtime party in Santa Barbara.

La Primavera Association is also the origin of the present-day Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara Fiesta. Fiesta 2023 will take place in various locations around the city Aug. 2-6.

The 2023 La Primavera is a fundraiser for the free Fiesta community events like La Fiesta Pequeña, Las Noches de Ronda, and El Desfile Histórico (the Fiesta Parade).

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