SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The pageantry of Old Spanish Days was on full display at the La Cumbre Junior High School auditorium on Saturday.
Twenty-one talented young dancers competed for the chance to become the 2019 Junior Spirit and Spirit of Fiesta. The rich tradition is now in its 70th year.
Paloma Valenzuela, 10, wowed the crowd and was chosen as the Junior Spirit.
"I feel so happy. So many people have supported me, my sisters and my family. I'm just so happy. I'm in tears of joy," Valenzuela said.
Sophia Cordero, 16, was chosen as Spirit of Fiesta.
"It was a dream come true. Honestly, it was such a blur. I immediately dropped and started crying," Cordero said.
The Junior Spirit and Spirit embody the charm and beauty of Old Spanish Days and together they will perform during Fiesta, including on the steps of the Old Mission Santa Barbara for La Fiesta Pequena.
Both dancers are from the Zermeno Dance Academy.
Old Spanish Days kicks off on July 31 and runs through August 4.