Fiesta! A Santa Barbara Tradition: Images from the Pearl Chase Collection, 1924 - 1930

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Title

Fiesta! A Santa Barbara Tradition: Images from the Pearl Chase Collection, 1924 - 1930

Description

Founded in 1924, Old Spanish Days Fiesta is a celebration of Santa Barbara's Hispanic heritage. Utilizing Spanish flair to lure summertime tourists to the Santa Barbara area and distinguish the city amongst other surrounding cities, Fiesta incorporates a revival of the 1830s and 1840s Spanish style of dancing, music, and spectacle. These traditions draw from Mexican-period fiestas on nearby ranchos, along with many previous Santa Barbara-based festivals, including the Mission Centennial (1886), the Floral Parade (1891), and La Primavera (1920). This online photograph exhibit highlights some of the major traditions that have carried through from the first Fiestas of the mid-1920s to today, including the Children’s Parade, the Mercado, and the various locations around Santa Barbara that continue to be mainstays of Old Spanish Days.

This collection of photographs, donated to the Presidio Research Center by SBTHP's founder Pearl Chase, is composed of images by several photographers, including De Marino, Padilla, J.W. Collinge and most notably Karl Obert.

SBTHP invites you to reflect on Old Spanish Day’s roots and explore a selection of Miss Chase's collection.

For more information on rights and permissions for this collection, please visit the Presidio Research Center webpage (http://www.sbthp.org/services.html).

Collection Items

Costumed man at Old Mission Santa Barbara
A Fiesta participant in costume at Old Mission Santa Barbara.

Costumed Fiesta participants at Old Mission Santa Barbara
A tradition kept to this day, icons of the city were used as hubs of social activities for Fiesta. Here, participants gather at the Santa Barbara Mission in preparation for Fiesta activities.

Woman in Fiesta costume standing in front of archway
Woman in Fiesta costume standing in front of archway

Woman in embroidered shawl.
Woman in embroidered shawl.

Man riding a donkey
Man wearing sombrero and serape riding a donkey

Woman reading a palm
A palm-reader wearing a traditional silk shawl engages audiences in Fiesta activities.

Mariachi players
A June 17, 1919 edition of the Daily News proclaimed that "Spanish colors, hospitality, and traditions will predominate at Santa Barbara's summer fiesta.” Here, one of many traveling mariachi bands fill the downtown area with joyous music and…

Performers at Casa de la Guerra
At Casa de la Guerra, two costumed dancers are surrounded by musicians

Fiesta performers at the Santa Barbara Courthouse
Just as today, several downtown locations acted as hubs of Fiesta activities. From Casa de la Guerra to the Santa Barbara Courthouse, residents and visitors alike donned Spanish costumes of the finest fabrics.

Music and dancing in El Paseo
El Paseo, built in the early 1920's around Casa de la Guerra, was the heart of Old Spanish Days Fiesta with a mercado, performances, and public gatherings. Here, one lovely lady performs a romantic Spanish dance surrounded by a six-piece…

Performers gather in El Paseo
Gathered in El Paseo, Fiesta performers would dress in traditional Spanish attire that also evoked the current Hollywood interpretation of California history.

Women with gourd baskets
With large gourds resting on their heads, these women travel around the mercado with flowers, vegetables, and fruit.
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