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Viva La Fiesta! Santa Barbara's Old Spanish Days Celebration Underway

Fiesta La Presidente Rhonda Ledson Henderson and Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider help kick off the 2017 Old Spanish Days celebration

The largest annual community celebration on the Central and South Coasts is underway.

Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara commemorates the city’s Hispanic heritage. The five day long celebration kicked off Wednesday morning with ceremonies at De La Guerra Plaza.

The plaza is home to free entertainment, and food booths which sell everything from tortas to churros to raise money for local non-profits. There’s a second marketplace at MacKenzie Park, with more food booths and a beer garden.

More than five thousand people are expected for “La Fiesta Pequena,” a free show Wednesday night featuring traditional song and dance on the steps of the Santa Barbara Mission.

Other major events include Fiesta’s historical parade, which starts at noon on Friday and goes through downtown Santa Barbara on State Street. It’s expected to attract more than 100,000 spectators. Then, on Saturday morning at 10, the Children’s Parade will take place on State Street, again bringing tens of thousands of spectators to the downtown Santa Barbara area.