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Santa Barbara's Fiesta Celebration Underway, But Coronavirus Cancels One Of Few Live Events

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Santa Barbara's Old Spanish Days Historical Parade normally attracts 100,000 spectators, as it features floats, equestrian units, and live music. It's been cancelled in 2020 due to coronavirus. Plans for a smaller car parade were also dropped.

The largest annual community event on the Central and South Coasts kicked off Wednesday, but due to coronavirus one of the few physical events which had been planned is now being cancelled.  Santa Barbara City Council members and Fiesta’s leaders officially cut the ribbon kicking off the 96th annual Old Spanish Days celebration. 

But, coronavirus means most Fiesta events likes shows, the marketplaces in parks, the rodeo and carnival have been canceled.  The events normally attract hundreds of thousands of people to the community.

Eric Davis, who’s the 2020 Fiesta El Presidente, says they are doing their best to keep the Fiesta spirit alive.

The traditional opening ceremony will be on television Wednesday night, instead of at the Santa Barbara Mission.  There will be a virtual concert on Friday night. 

But, the latest casualty is the historical parade.  Organizers hoped to replace the floats, and equestrian units with a car caravan which would drive through neighborhoods, and not attract crowds, but it was deemed too much of a health risk.