La Fiesta Del Museo

By Lynda Millner   |   August 2, 2018
Chloe Mendoza and Mary Lazaro with Spirit of Fiesta Jesalyn McCollum at the SBHM party

Every year, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum (SBHM) launches the Fiesta season with their party a couple weeks before the official Fiesta. They know how to do it and it just keeps getting better. If our Old Spanish Days roots come from Spain, it’s no wonder. 

After living near Sevilla for seven years, I can vouch that the Spanish know how to party. They do it with dry sherry (fino) and tapas instead of tacos and margaritas. And then there are the fabulous Andalucian horses and the biggest horse parade in the United States. Not to mention everyone dressing up in costumes. What’s not to love?

The SBHM’s experienced chair was Sharon Bradford and her committee, plus the interim executive director Michael Redmon and deputy director Dacia Harwood. The invitation featured past official programs, which back in 1932 sold for a whopping 15 cents. By 1947, inflation struck and they cost all of 50 cents. The decorations were stunning in red and black with huge swaths of red fabric coming across the “ceiling” and red glasses at each place setting. Some of the patrons making this possible were Marlene and Warren Miller, Eleanor Van Cott, and John C. Woodward.

The cocktail hour is held in the courtyard of the charming Covarrubias adobe with plenty of margaritas and fresh tacos being grilled along with a silent auction. You couldn’t find a more authentic Spanish/Mexican atmosphere if Hollywood had built it to order. The Junior Spirit of Fiesta Georgey Taupin and guitarist Tony Ybarra performed.

St. Barbara Anne Petersen with OSD director David Bolton at the museum
SBHM interim executive director with deputy director Dacia Harwood

Then it was up to the main courtyard for a sit-down dinner followed by a show. All the dignitaries were present with La Presidenta Denise Sanford reminding us to celebrate traditions. In the museum courtyard, we saw Spanish dance artifacts from the museum collection narrated by Erin Graffy de Garcia, and the Spirit of Fiesta Jesalyn McCollum danced. There were performances by Quinteto and Timo Nunez, touted America’s number-one flamenco dancer. The Elements band provided the evening’s music.

Jewels Eubanks took over the auction with several special items such as four guests riding in the museum’s carriage in the El Desfile Historico. One unique event was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit Huguette Clark’s storied estate overlooking East Beach. Sharon Bradford invited the winner to be her guest for an invitation-only 1920s gala on Saturday, October 13.

You can explore Fiesta history in the latest museum exhibition titled Project Fiesta 2018. VIVA LA FIESTA. VIVA. VIVA. VIVA!

OSD 2nd vice president Erik Davis and director Angelique Davis
Leo Acquistapace, Bill Reynolds, sponsors Marline and Warren Miller, and
Kristan O’Donnell and Sheri Mobley enjoy the Fiesta fete

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