Fiesta OSD

Casa Cantina brings out Fiesta crowds in a unique venue near the mercado

Spencer the Gardener band fills Casa de la Guerra

Spencer the Gardener performs on the opening night of Fiesta in the Casa Cantina. (John Palminteri/KEYT photo)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Casa Cantina concert series continues this year in the Casa de la Guerra courtyard across from the downtown Santa Barbara Fiesta mercado.

It has become a popular venue for local bands and a site for a refreshing beer to go with the stage show.

Wednesday night the cantina opened with one of Santa Barbara's most popular bands, Spencer the Gardener.  Hundreds showed up throughout the evening.

The band will be performing at many Fiesta venues, but Spencer says this is one of his favorite times because it is a "locals" show.  Many of those attending went to school together or have come back to town to share Fiesta stories and enjoy the music they have dance to for years.

Joining the band  on the side stage were the colorful high kicking, La Boheme dancers.  They bring a Vegas, Mardi Gras, saloon girl look to the show.

In between band breaks they took over with custom dance routines for the audience and then came down to join those attending on the dance floor.

The setting has the historic feel with a dirt courtyard and strings of white lights overhead, in a venue that was one of the original buildings in Santa Barbara. 

The cantina performances with many local bands continues through Saturday night of Old Spanish Days.  Admission is $10.


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