Father Larry Gosselin has served at the Old Mission of Santa Barbara since 2013.

Father Larry Gosselin has served at the Old Mission of Santa Barbara since 2013. (Courtesy photo)

Father Larry Gosselin, a long-time supporter and friend of Fiesta, has been named the grand marshal of the Reimagined 2020 Fiesta Caravan Parade, organizers of Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara have announced.

The caravan parade, which begins at noon Friday, Aug. 7, will feature classic cars and decorated vehicles and will travel through Santa Barbara and Montecito neighborhoods.

“This is a privileged honor that I accept with a very humble heart, but with immense gratitude and appreciation,” said Fr. Larry. “It’s an honor that I never could have imagined that I would be given, with all the highest respect, esteem, and admiration I have always held for the community of Santa Barbara.”

Each year since the 1930s, the El Presidente or La Presidenta of Fiesta chooses a grand marshal of El Desfile Historico Parade (the Historic Parade). Continuing the long-standing tradition, El Presidente Erik Davis selected Fr. Larry.

“I chose Father Larry as the grand marshal because of his positive attitude and the way he always strives to unite us in love and friendship — something we need now more than ever,” said Davis. “Anyone who knows Father Larry knows of his kindness, joyfulness and dedication to serving all people in the Santa Barbara community.”

“It is my great hope and sincere aspiration, in being asked to serve as grand marshal of the Fiesta Parade, that I might be able to tap into the great inspiration of the late and great Father Virgil, with all that he brought and left to this community, and to bring some of his spirit into our celebration and call of unity for all people,” said Fr. Larry.

Fr. Larry, O.F.M. is a Franciscan priest of the Province of Saint Barbara; he is a native of Washington State, but a friar of the world. He has been serving at the Old Mission of Santa Barbara since 2013 and has emceed La Fiesta Pequeña, the official opening of Fiesta, on the steps of the Old Mission Santa Barbara for the last nine years.

Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation dedicated to honoring and preserving Santa Barbara’s history, spirit, culture, heritage and traditions. Due to safety cncerns during the pandemic, Fiesta 2020 has been reimagined and will hold many of its signature events online, on television or in ways that adhere to physical distancing practices.

The theme of this year’s Fiesta is “¡Vamos a Bailar!” (in English, “Let’s Dance!”), More information about Fiesta 2020 is at www.sbfiesta.org.