Fiesta: Old Spanish Days 2017

 The 92nd anniversary of the Fiesta Historical Parade featured floats 600+ horses depicting episodes from the history of the Santa Barbara and California by descendants of local Native Americans, Spanish Pioneers, the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, and local service clubs and organizations |  Image:  Paul Wellman 

The 92nd anniversary of the Fiesta Historical Parade featured floats 600+ horses depicting episodes from the history of the Santa Barbara and California by descendants of local Native Americans, Spanish Pioneers, the Native Sons and Daughters of the Golden West, and local service clubs and organizations | Image: Paul Wellman 

Viva La Fiesta 2017 

It’s that time of year for cascarones and castanets, pozole and parades, margaritas and mariachis, and most of all, pride in this annual celebration for natives as well as those new to the city and those visiting. Let the Santa Barbara Independent’s annual guide to Old Spanish Days help you get the most out of your Fiesta experience. This year’s special guide will introduce you to 2017 La Presidente Rhonda Ledson Henderson, Spirit of Fiesta Norma Escárcega, Junior Spirit of Fiesta Eve Flores, and Saint Barbara Robin Emily Hill Cederlof. Get ready for the entertainment, food, fun, and tradition that is Old Spanish Days.

 Rehearsal for opening night at the Mission |  Image:  Scott London

Rehearsal for opening night at the Mission | Image: Scott London

Meet the Spirits of Fiesta 2017

 2017 Spirit of Fiesta, Norma Escárcega (right), and Junior Spirit of Fiesta, Eve Flores |  Image:  Montecito Lifestyle

2017 Spirit of Fiesta, Norma Escárcega (right), and Junior Spirit of Fiesta, Eve Flores | Image: Montecito Lifestyle

Every year, two young dancers are chosen as the Spirit and Junior Spirit of Fiesta, and this year, it’s a graceful, strong, leaderly spirit that 2017 Spirit of Fiesta Norma Escárcega and Junior Spirit Eve Flores carry with them to the stage.

 2017 Spirit of Fiesta Norma Escárcega at La Fiesta del Museo | Image: Paul Wellman

2017 Spirit of Fiesta Norma Escárcega at La Fiesta del Museo | Image: Paul Wellman

It’s been a year of milestones for Escárcega. Besides the Spirit coronation, she graduated from San Marcos High School as their senior class vice president with AP and honors classes under her belt. The Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center volunteer and future probation officer hopeful has danced flamenco for 15 years. “It is definitely an honor,” Escárcega said of the Spirit title. She hopes she can be a role model to other dancers, showing they “can be true to who they are, no matter the style of dance or personality. When you dance with passion and love, you can accomplish anything.”

 2017 Junior Spirit of Fiesta Eve Flores at La Fiesta del Museo |  Image:  Paul Wellman

2017 Junior Spirit of Fiesta Eve Flores at La Fiesta del Museo | Image: Paul Wellman

For Flores, the Junior Spirit life has been very exciting. “I’m super excited to go place to place, to take it all in and learn what I can accomplish at Fiesta,” said the ambitious 5th grader, an environmentally conscious Hope School student who enjoys spelling bees and math competitions. “I know there’s so much in store for me.” She spent her first three years of school in Mexico, where she learned ballet, hip-hop, jazz, and more, but found the perfect fit in flamenco when she moved here in 3rd grade. Flores says she loves dancing because “I can express myself without using words and share my personality onstage,” and hopes she can inspire young dancers like herself. “If you try your hardest,” she said, “you can get it, no matter what.”

Article by: Terry Ortega & Richie Demaria | Santa Barbara Independent

 

Make Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara a yearly tradition and live the Montecito Lifestyle