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It's Fiesta Time! Largest Annual Community Event On Central And South Coasts Underway

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 with music, dance, and food, and brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the region.

De La Guerra Plaza, in front of Santa Barbara’s City Hall, has been transformed into “El Mercado,” with nearly two dozen food booths which sell everything from tacos to churros to raise money for local non-profits. Many of the non-profit raise a major of their annual budgets during Fiesta. The food comes with entertainment as well, as a variety of singers and dancers perform on a stage at the edge of the plaza.

There’s a second marketplace at MacKenzie Park, with more food booths run by non-profits, and a beer garden.

More than a dozen events are on the Old Spanish Days calendar between now and the end of the festivities on Sunday.

For the next three nights, the sunken gardens at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse will be the home of “Noches de Ronda,” which feature traditional music and dance in free shows for thousands of spectators with lawn chairs and blankets. Showtime is 8 p.m. nightly.

Other major events include Fiesta’s historical parade, “El Desfile Historico,” 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.