A red ribbon snapped in two Wednesday morning when Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider officially opened the mercado at De La Guerra Plaza.
It was part of a special ceremony featuring El Presidente Dennis Rickard, the Spirit of Fiesta Talia Ortega Vestal, and Junior Spirit of Fiesta Natalie Mowers.
The mercado downtown and the mercado at MacKenzie park will be visited by thousands of people each day during Fiesta.
Many of the vendors are nonprofit groups and they use this event to fill their budgets for the year.
The mercados take on a slightly different look each year, with some of the vendors changing spots (or menu items) , and a mix of entertainment rotates throughout the day.
Each mercado will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day.