Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New features announced for Fiesta 2008


With the strains of mariachis long faded and the last strands of confetti shaken from their hair many months ago, organizers with Old Spanish Days are gearing up for Fiesta 2008, unveiling several new features alongside the classic events.
At a gathering yesterday morning at the Carriage and Western Art Museum, El Presidente Tim Taylor announced the theme for Fiesta this year as “Viva La Communidad,” or “Long Live the Community.”

When Old Spanish Days started in 1924, “it was all about the community coming together,” Taylor said. “…I’d like to not only recognize the people who help the youth and the community, but the Sheriff’s Department and the Police Department, the people who risk their lives.”
In announcing his honorary El Presidentes Dave and Sharon Dorsey, Taylor noted that Dave is a former Santa Barbara Sheriff who was instrumental in the D.A.R.E. program and coaching youth sports in the community. Sharon Dorsey also served as the Spirit of Fiesta in 1958.
Father Virgil Cordano is also being recognized as director emeritus of Old Spanish Days, the first such honor, for his years of service to the community and Fiesta.
While working with Taylor on the theme of community, vice president of external relations Kathryn McKee said the organizing committee decided to reinstate a countywide poster contest, which has not been held since 1987.
Local artists are encouraged to bring their Fiesta poster designs to a juried ingathering at the Faulkner Gallery on May 4. After the jury picks 20 top works of art, Taylor will select the 2008 poster.
The top poster designs will also be on display from May 30 to July 24 at Casa de la Guerra, at the El Presidente reception, and then the Nelson Gallery until August 10.
“For artists, this is an incredible opportunity to show your work,” McKee said.
Organizers also unveiled the return of Fiesta Ranchera, planned for June 4 at Stow House, Rancho La Patera in Goleta.
“We’re bringing Goleta into Old Spanish Days,” said Joanne Funari, vice presidente of celebrations, noting that the event was last held in 1968.
With 1,500 people expected to participate in the event, Funari said it could rival Los Dignitarios, the popular celebration and fundraiser held at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
In other Fiesta news, Josiah Jenkins, treasurer and chair of the rodeo, said the Professional Bull Riders tour is returning this year with six of the top 10 bull riders in the world slated to compete, including top-ranked Guilherme Marchi.
“We’ve got a helluva good lineup,” Jenkins said, urging the public to get their tickets in advance.
He also announced this year’s Honorary Vaqueros, Si and Karen Jenkins.
“Happen to be my parents,” he said. “Not my suggestion.”
Si Jenkins, born and raised in Santa Barbara, has been involved with the Fiesta Stock Horse Show and Rodeo since the 1940s, even participating in the event when it was held at Pershing Park.
Karen Jenkins grew up on a cattle ranch and spends the majority of her time taking care of the family horses, which have served as mounts for many El Presidentes over the years.
Finally, organizers reiterated the partnership between Old Spanish Days and the local Metropolitan Transit District, emphasizing the “green” aspect as well as the ease of taking public transportation to Fiesta events.
More information and a calendar of many of the major Fiesta events is available online at or by calling 962-8101.

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