SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Viva la Fiesta! Some may consider this their Christmas in July.
Santa Barbara's 95th Annual Old Spanish Days is here. Get ready for five full days of parades, food, and dancing - celebrating Santa Barbara's heritage.
Thousands of people watched La Fiesta Pequeña at the Old Mission Wednesday night, officially kicking off Old Spanish Days.
Our very own Beth Farnsworth hosted Pequeña alongside Father Larry.
Wednesday served as a true visual example of this year's theme, the "Spirit of Community," as thousands gathered in front of the historic Mission as the sun set to take in this time-honored tradition.
Spectators staked out prime real estate to take in the kickoff to Fiesta, setting out blankets and chairs as early as 6:00 a.m.
People say it's all about coming together and celebrating Santa Barbara's history as a united community.
"It's indescribable what it means to me. There's an incredible sense of community, an incredible sense of joy, an incredible sense of spirit. Spirit of the life of everyone in our community. I don't think I could put it into words, what this feels like, what this means to me and everybody here," said Rev. Larry Gosselin, Old Mission Santa Barbara.
"I've been dancing since I was two-years-old and so I've always looked up to the Spirits. When I was about six or seven, I was like I want to be that one day, so that means the world to me," said Sophia Cordero, 2019 Spirit of Fiesta.
Hundreds of dancers and musicians wowed the crowd.
Performers tell us they've been practicing since December of last year and even though it's a lot of stress and hard work when they walk up on that stage and look out at the sea of people, it's all worth it.
The Santa Barbara Police Department said Wednesday was fairly mellow with no incidents to report.