SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The more you eat, the more you help nonprofit groups during the Old Spanish Days Fiesta in Santa Barbara. Two mercados will be open for four days starting tomorrow.
El Mercado de la Guerra is in downtown and El Mercado del Norte is at Mackenzie Park on Las Positas.
Both will have dozens of booths, vendors, and live performance stages. Admission is free.
Funds raised at the booth, in some cases, are the largest income of the year for local nonprofit groups that includes school clubs, and churches.
Alma Vaja with Holy Cross Church put the finishing touches on her booth today. That included menu signs for fajitas. She says for many years, they took just cash, but now they can take credit cards and that has increased sales. Some people make large orders and take them home.
The Vietnam Veterans #218 changed their menu item in recent years and serve pulled pork. With that, Don Matter who works the booth says, sales shot up from the corn dogs that were prepared before. They will use proceeds for scholarships, and to repair a demonstration Vietnam-era helicopter that is displayed at events and in parades.
The food lineup includes, taquitos, tacos, tortas, churros, corn on the cob, snow balls, and bacon wrapped hot dogs. There are many items prepared on site by long time families and restaurants.
One booth has nearly 100 volunteers.
There will be many live stage performances ranging from dancers, to music bands.
All Fiesta locations will have visible security and safety crews to help the public have a safe time.
For a full list of Old Spanish Days events and the entertainment at the mercados go to:http://www.oldspanishdays-fiesta.org/new/index.php