Monday, July 14, 2008

Dominguez is Fiesta’s St. Barbara


Sheltered from the early-afternoon sun under shade trees in the warm courtyard of Casa de la Guerra, dozens of local dignitaries and community members gathered in festive garb for the Pre-Fiesta Tea yesterday, signaling the early stirrings of Old Spanish Days.

In addition to introducing Rebecca Dominguez, selected as Saint Barbara 2008, organizers also paid tribute to Saint Barbara of 75 years ago, Marian Arroqui.
In 1933, then 25-year-old Arroqui portrayed the city’s namesake and patron saint. Having recently celebrated her 100th birthday, she is the oldest living Saint Barbara.
Although she could not attend yesterday’s festivities, Arroqui sent along her warmest greetings, organizers said. A friend accepted resolutions from city, state and federal representatives honoring Arroqui, as well as a commemorative coin featuring her name and image.
In further remembrance, Dominquez will appear in the Fiesta Parade on a float built to resemble the original float Arroqui rode in 1933, wearing the traditional white gown with a crimson robe.
A Bishop Diego High School graduate, Dominguez is currently attending California Lutheran University. Born and raised in Santa Barbara, the ninth-generation Californian and third-generation Saint Barbara is a two-year member of Native Daughters of the Golden West, Reina del Mar Parlor No. 126.
Her mother and grandmother portrayed the city’s patron saint in past Fiesta festivities, and Dominguez first participated in a Fiesta parade at 10 months old.
Along with celebrations of Saint Barbara past and present, those in attendance at the Pre-Fiesta Tea were also treated to several performances, including dances by Jessica Marquez, Spirit of Fiesta 2008, and Ashley Almada, Junior Spirit of Fiesta 2008.

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