If you’re a Santa Barbara local or familiar to the area then you know all about Old Spanish Days Fiesta. But if you’re not, I’ll give you the short version. Fiesta always takes place over the first weekend in August in Santa Barbara and starts on the prior Wednesday. The main festivities are Friday and Saturday and that’s also when the most people are out. Old Spanish Days is the biggest local festival and celebrates the Spanish heritage of Santa Barbara. There are tons of things to do and see, so if you want to learn more check out their website. But here are some of my tips from years of experience.
1. Buy confetti eggs – They’re one of the best things about Fiesta and you can’t miss the people lining State Street selling them. You can buy all sorts of colors and crack them on your friend’s or stranger’s heads. Surprise attacks are always my style.
2. Don’t over do it on the day drinking – If you’re going out on Saturday and want to go out that night, pace yourself. Every bar is packed and will be enticing you to come in and have a margarita. If you don’t want to go out at all that night, then just stick to the day drinking. It’s better that way.
3. Don’t pay for the beer gardens – It’s not worth it. There’s nothing in there but people standing about and drinking beer. Quite honestly the beer gardens aren’t that fun.
4. Go to Del la Guerra Plaza – Yes! This is where all of the action is. You want to cruise the booths, taste the food and listen to the live bands and performers. This is the hub of fiesta and a must for good food.
5. Get to the Children’s Parade early – This is the busiest parade, so you want to get there early. Bring chairs or park it on the curb for a few hours and enjoy the performers walk down State Street. A good view is worth the early wait.
6. Buy the street tacos – It’s all about the Mexican and Spanish food. Get ready to indulge in some good eats. Every little taco stand is worth the wait.
7. Make parking arrangements – With so many people coming into the little downtown, you want to get there early to find parking in a lot or scope some street parking. Ubers and taxis may have a surge and have a wait given the thousands of people that will be down there.
8. Get ready to party – Fiesta translates to party, so that’s exactly what you will be doing. Chat it up with strangers on the street or at the bar. Everyone is there to have a good time, so get ready to have some fun!
Note: Viva La Fiesta!