SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Old Spanish Days Fiesta economic report will likely be a good one in Santa Barbara. Beyond bars and restaurants, many other businesses in the area of Fiesta activities are seeing an increase in customers.
Joe's Cafe manager Joey Somerville says he and his staff have years of experience and many local customers to create a festive tone day and night. He adds extra employees and security, especially on Friday and Saturday night during Fiesta. He also says many people who used to live in Santa Barbara and are back for the event use Joe's and other long time restaurants as traditional gathering places.
"The nice thing about Joe's is we have been here so long, the employees have been here so long the customers seem to know our staff pretty level - very few problems mainly because of that. The comfort level is high and after 9 o'clock when the crowds are bigger we obviously staff up for that," said Somerville.
Across the street at O'Malley's they make sure every area of their bar, patio and upstairs has someone counting customers to keep the crowd level within limits and give guests room to move. "Everything starts at the front door. We have people at stages by the dance floor, in the patio, by the back door, upstairs. You try to keep it from bottle necking, we put the tables down and take the bar stools out and that helps the flow of it," he said.
Overall the scene is lively with mariachi bands on the streets, and many people in Fiesta attire.
Nearby businesses say they often see those downtown come in as they are going from the mercado booths or local restaurants and bars as part of their Fiesta stroll through the area.
(more details will be added here later today)