SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

Old Spanish Days Fiesta officially kicked off Wednesday with Fiesta Pequeña, and with it a slew of events and Mercados for families to enjoy. We've compiled some of them for you here.

Las Noches de Ronda- This show runs Thursday until Saturday 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. “Nights of Gaiety” is held in the famous Sunken Gardens of the beautiful Santa Barbara County Courthouse. See a variety of dance styles under the stars!

Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercado- This community event is held Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Enjoy one of the best traditions of Fiesta. Our Lady of Guadalupe Mercado serves up a wide array of authentic Mexican cuisine and entertainment. Visit a local secret at 227 North Nopal Street and experience homemade goodness for the whole family!

Flor y Canto- This show runs Friday night at 7 p.m. Here is a rare opportunity to see the original Spanish California dances & songs of the 19th century. Interwoven with historic narration, the musical numbers are accompanied on replica acoustic instruments. These unique songs & dances are performed by local residents in authentic costumes much as they would have been 150 years ago. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy the show! Held at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens, 1100 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

Kiwanis Fiesta Pancake Breakfast- held Saturday from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Kiwanis club will be hosting their Annual Fiesta Pancake Breakfast. Over 4,000 guests are served at this event and all proceeds go directly to support activities that benefit children in south Santa Barbara County. It is a great opportunity for the community to get involved. Held in Alameda Park, 1400 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101. For tickets call 805-896-9083.

West Coast Symphony 45th Annual Free Fiesta Concert- Enjoy beautiful music on the lawn this Sunday at 3 p.m. Bring the family, snacks, and lawn chairs for an afternoon of beautiful music conducted by Christopher Story VI. Held at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens, 1100 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

For a full schedule of events, visit sbfiesta.org.

GETTING AWAY FROM THE CROWDS

With that said, what do you do if you want to avoid the large crowds of Old Spanish Days but still want to engage in that spirit of Fiesta?

Los Arroyos Montecito

You can enjoy a live mariachi band while tasting delicious specials at Los Arroyos Montecito at 1280 Coast Village Road. The festivities at Los Arroyos Montecito go from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, and Sunday, August 7, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Mex Authentic

You can also enjoy great food and drinks with family and friends with a Fiesta oriented menu at The Mex Authentic located at 413 State Street. Enjoy nachos, flautas, tostadas, tacos, enchiladas, burritos. Wash it all down with one of the various types of beers the establishment offers. From Bohemia and Dos Equis to more locally microbrews like Figueroa Mountain and Sculpin. Perhaps you're more of the Margarita guy and gal. They have specialty Margaritas and churros and flan for dessert.

Rose Cafe on Cliff Drive

If you live near Santa Barbara's Mesa neighborhood and don't feel or can't travel downtown to the Mercados and numerous Old Spanish Days, you may get in the spirit of Fiesta by visiting the Rose Cafe located at 1816 Cliff Drive. Enjoy the lively music and colorful decorations with your friends and family as you taste some of its new delicious Ceviche, featuring red snapper, shrimp, avocado, black olives, lemon juice, herbs and spices for less than $8.

Rose Cafe on Cliff Drive

And the Velvet Jones at 423 State Street is offering an alternative to the downtown crowds with a live mariachi concert featuring Mariachi El Bronx. The event will take place on Saturday, August 6 at 7 p.m. with an earlier show scheduled for 1 p.m. For tickets, and more shows and information, visit http://www.velvet-jones.com.