Moore and De La Guerra Fiesta

By Lynda Millner   |   August 16, 2018
David Bolton, hostess Jeannie Davis, Francisco Javier Vallaure de Acha, counsel general of Spain in Los Angeles, and host Keith Mautino Moore at the Santa Barbara Club

Emma’s patio garden at the Santa Barbara Club came alive when Keith Mautino Moore and Jeannie De la Guerra Davis threw a Fiesta bash with all the trimmings. Keith is a fifth-generation Santa Barbaran, and Jeannie is a direct descendant of the De la Guerra family from the 18th century, when it was Las Californias in the Province of New Spain.

Keith and Jeannie learned how to party from their ancestors. Bill and Vivia Whiting Moore participated in one of the first Fiesta celebrations in 1924. They used to come to town from their ranch in Lompoc and stay in the luxurious Potter Hotel for a couple of weeks, until it burned down in 1921. Phyllis Moore was Saint Barbara in 1949 and was the last Saint Barbara to appear in the tower window at the courthouse. Rumor has it that she was last because trees grew up and covered the tower window.

The De la Guerras hosted other ranchers in the 19th century following cattle brandings and crop harvests. That meant barbecues, drinking, and dancing. Parties were held at their San Julian Ranch in Lompoc. Also in that era, the De la Guerra families enjoyed early parties at Casa de la Guerra.

Fiesta is really a celebration of Santa Barbara’s Rancho Period. Its golden days of that era were the years 1833 to 1846. Tourists were not always attracted to Santa Barbara, hence the creation of Fiesta and also to celebrate the reopening of the Lobero Theater. Fiesta is a blending of Spanish and Mexican traditions. It’s music, dance, parades, rodeo, food, and drink!

More Fiesta folks: Suzi Schomer, Hiroko Benko, and Linda Rosso at the Club
Debra Papageorge, Katherine Murray-Morse, and Diane Waterhouse at Keith and Jeannie’s fete
Former El Presadente Herb Barthels with wife Mareva and Missy Chandler

Keith told me, “During the 1960s and ’70s, many local families, including Castro and Ortega, threw block parties during Fiesta. One took place at the parking lot across from the current Santa Barbara Historical Museum. It lasted well into the night.” It is said that in the olden days, Hollywood stopped producing westerns during Fiesta because all the cowboys and horse handlers were in the Fiesta parade.

Keith and Jennie had the works at their party – mariachis, costumes, and cocktails. Keith displayed the dress that his mother wore in the 1940s and he wore a vest made by her for his father. Among the honored guests was Francisco Javier Vallaure de Acha, the consul general of Spain in Los Angeles. As he says, “Santa Barbara is my home.” He loves to come here. The executive director of the California Missions Foundation David Bolton presented him with an award. Also attending was La Presidenta Denise Sanford along with the Spirits of Fiesta and Eduardo Villa, who sang Granada. There were Native Daughters of the Golden West Leanne Figueroa, Susie Parent, and Betty Dominguez, plus Michel Nellis, historian of the City of Santa Barbara. There too was former El Presidente Herb Barthels and his wife, Mareva, Gil and Susan Rosas, Marie Profant from the Profant Foundation, judge Thomas Anderle, Missy de Young, Santa Barbara Club president John Doordan and his wife, Traci, Wes St. Clair, Nancy and Bob Knight, Katherine Murray-Morse, and Linda Rosso.

Fetes like this don’t just happen, so thanks to Keith and Jeannie for all their Fiesta spirit.


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