Fiesta Dignatarios
At the Santa Barbara Zoo

El Celebración de los Dignatarios, or "Celebration of the Dignitaries" is guaranteed to bring out the animal in Fiesta fans. Enjoy a chance to mingle with members of the City Council, the mayor and see exotic wildlife at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Enjoy delicious appetizers and wines presented by local restaurants and wineries.

Santa Barbarans have long been proud of their city's heritage from Spanish founders and from the Spanish, Mexican and North American pioneers who first settled here and built the city. The tradition of colorful music, dance and song, together with a spirit of friendliness, hospitality and tolerance are part of this heritage which the Fiesta "Old Spanish Days In Santa Barbara" seeks to preserve and perpetuate.

Old Spanish Days In Santa Barbara

In the year 1924, two circumstances motivated the first Fiesta. In the first place, there had for some time been a feeling among the business people of the city that Santa Barbara should have an annual summer event to entertain and attract visitors. The city had come to be a favorite place for winter tourists, but these visitors had not been drawn here in any considerable number during the summer months.

Secondly, in August of 1924, the Community Arts Association of Santa Barbara planned the opening of the new Lobero Theatre, which had been erected on the site of the old historic theatre founded by JosŽ (Giuseppe) Lobero and built by the assistance of Col. Wm. Hollister. A member of the Community Arts Association, J. Wm. McLennen, conceived the idea of having a celebration to mark the opening of the new theatre. He approached a merchants' association and a committee was formed of which Charles E. Pressley was elected chairman. The interest of Herbert Nunn, who was then the city manager, was enlisted. The group began to formulate plans for the celebration, to be comprised of a number of activities to include a parade, aquatic and sports events and, of course, a gala celebration at the theatre on its opening night.

As news of the plans became noised abroad, some members of the community, more particularly T. Wilson Dibblee, a descendant of the prominent De La Guerra family, and James B. Rickard, became apprehensive lest the celebration should not fully represent Santa Barbara's standards. A number of like-minded persons became interested, and it was their opinion that the large amount of material originally gathered at the time of the presentation of La Primavera should form the background for the proposed celebration, which has become known today as Old Spanish Days Fiesta.