Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara has named Hugh P. and Dianne Davis, Bill and Solange Springer, Geoff Grow, Kathy Baron, Nancy Callahan, Robin Gauss, John Palminteri and Erin Graffy de Garcia as honorary el presidentes and la presidentas for Fiesta 2020.
Honorary presidentes and presidentas are chosen each year by the current el presidente or la presidenta. It is an honor bestowed on them for their personal support to the current presidente or their contributions to Old Spanish Days.
“One of the privileges of being el presidente is getting the opportunity to recognize and thank those who have been a part of my Fiesta journey, many who have been an integral part of Fiesta over the years,” said el presidente Erik Davis. “I thank my wife Angelique for her love and support and am proud to salute and thank the honorary presidentes and presidentas of Fiesta 2020.”
» Hugh P. Davis (1938-2016), Erik Davis’ father, was his role model. He was known for his integrity, humor, mentorship and community involvement. After a nearly 25-year career with the YMCA, Hugh Davis served on the Board of Directors for the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission and Habitat for Humanity of Southern Santa Barbara County.
He helped organize the annual Community Prayer Breakfast and will be remembered for his work on the YMCA Good Friday Breakfast, which he started in 1978.
» Dianne Davis, Erik Davis’ mother, is a long-time community service leader. She has served on the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission Auxiliary for some 20 years and served as president and decorations chair for the annual Back to the Bayou event. She is a member of the Assistance League of Santa Barbara. She has also served on Fiesta’s La Recepción del Presidente committee.
» Bill Springer, Erik Davis’ father-in-law, lives in Leander, Texas. He retired from the University of Texas at El Paso after 45-plus years teaching philosophy. He is fluent in several languages and is an avid storyteller. He will turn 90 on Aug. 7, Fiesta Friday.
» Solange Springer, Davis’ mother-in-law, lives in Leander, Texas. She is a retired business owner and one of Erik’s biggest fans.
» Geoff Grow is a long-time friend and behind-the-scenes Fiesta volunteer. He is the founder and CEO of Service Objects, a Santa Barbara-based company that provides validation for online transactions.
» Kathy Baron is a long-time friend and veterinarian who worked at Noah’s Ark Veterinary Clinic and the Santa Barbara Humane Society before her retirement in 2012. She and Grow met playing beach volleyball at East Beach and married in 1998. Her favorite local festivals include Fiesta and Solstice.
» Nancy Callahan, a friend and mentor, began volunteering for Old Spanish Days in 1993, joining the newly formed Fiesta Ambassadors. She eventually joined the Board of Directors and became the chair of the Bienvenidos committee, leading some 20 volunteers who greet locals and visitors during Fiesta.
» Robin Gauss (1947-2017), a friend and mentor, served on the Old Spanish Days Board of Directors and was known for asking to be assigned to a job no one else wanted. He also volunteered for a number of local organizations, including SBCC Marine Technology Advisory Council, Aeromedicos, Terra Marine, Santa Cruz Island Foundation, and the Santa Barbara Hang gliding and Paragliding Association.
» John Palminteri, a friend, mentor and inspiration has been covering Old Spanish Days for nearly 40 years for TV, radio, print and social media sites. His broadcasts are on KEYT NewsChannel 3, KCOY NewsChannel 12, KKFX Fox 11, KCLU and KJEE. He is a mainstay of Fiesta and his energy and enthusiasm for all things Fiesta is unmatched.
» Erin Graffy, a friend and mentor, served on the Old Spanish Days board of directors for some 25 years. As a marketing communications specialist, she has volunteered her professional services to numerous organizations, and has served on more than 30 boards, commissions and advisory positions throughout the Santa Barbara community.
She was the recipient of the KLITE Community Hero Award, Profant Foundation Michelangelo Award, and Community Star Award by Catholic Charities. She was named Woman of Achievement by the Santa Barbara Business and Professional Women, and Citizen Diplomate by County Kerry, Ireland.
As a California regional historian, Graffy has served as the expert on Old Spanish Days and Fiesta history, lecturing and writing extensively on the subject. Her publications include the multi-award-winning book “Old Spanish Days: Santa Barbara History.”
» Erik Davis spent more than a decade volunteering on the Old Spanish Days Fiesta Board before being elected as el presidente. He also served as primer vice presidente, segundo vice presidente, division chief of external relations, and education and public relations chair.
Davis has led fundraising efforts and has served on the Fiesta Pequeña, El Desfile Historico, parade marshals and history committees, as well as other Fiesta committees. He is executive director of TV Santa Barbara, a community media access center that broadcasts on Channels 17 and 71.
Previously, he worked as senior director institutional advancement and communications at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and served as vice president of the Pearl Chase Society.
Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit dedicated to honoring and preserving Santa Barbara’s history, spirit, culture, heritage and traditions. Due to the coronavirus, 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, all while promoting community-wide participation.
For more about Fiesta 2020, visit www.sbfiesta.org.