[Click here for a Noozhawk photo gallery of Fiesta Ranchera.]

Locals got another anticipatory taste of the upcoming 2013 Old Spanish Days & Fiesta on Thursday during the annual Fiesta Ranchera.

Hundreds of attendees — many dressed in Fiesta or ranch attire — enjoyed a festive evening of food, music and dancing as a lead-up to the 89th annual Fiesta event, which will run July 31 through Aug. 4.

Fiesta Ranchera was co-hosted by Old Spanish Days and the Goleta Valley Historical Society at the Rancho La Patera & Stow House, 304 N Los Carneros Road in Goleta.

Guests were invited to stroll through the historic garden grounds to sample food from local restaurants, with tastings from a bar and award-winning local wineries also available.

The 2013 Junior Spirit of Fiesta Kailani Cordero, 11, and Spirit of Fiesta Corrie Jimenez, 18, serenaded the crowd with dances once live music got under way.

Before the dance, Kailani said she had no idea she’d be performing in front of such a large crowd of revelers.

Attendees of Thursday's Fiesta Ranchera enjoy free samples of local food, including Pepe's Mexican Food. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Attendees of Thursday’s Fiesta Ranchera enjoy free samples from local restaurants, including Pepe’s Mexican Food. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

“It’s like huge,” she said, with an excited yet nervous smile. “I didn’t know it was this many people!”

El Presidente Josiah Jenkins thanked those in attendance for showing their Fiesta spirit, whether they were dancing, drinking or merely watching the festivities unfold.

He also helped auction off the sixth of 20 printed copies of this year’s event poster, which depicts his parents, Karen and Si Jenkins, riding on horses along State Street during the annual Fiesta parade.

“Smile,” Jenkins said. “Life is good.”

Those in attendance seemed to heed his voice, concluding the celebration by dancing into the night and under the stars.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at gpotthoff@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.