Old Spanish Days prepares for two mercado sites, a carnival, stages and vendors during the Fiesta

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The return of Old Spanish Days could be a financial boost for nonprofits planning to operate booths and small vending sites at the two mercado sites open for four days from of August 3.

One will be downtown at De la Guerra Plaza.

The other will be at MacKenzie Park on Las Positas.

The MacKenzie Park mercado will not only have a performance area and over 35 food stalls, it will also have a carnival with 16 rides.
In the city center, the mercado will have 18 catering sites.

Nearby there will be retail vendors at Storke Placita and on the first block of East De la Guerra Street.

Wednesday, August 3, Mercado Del Norte at MacKenzie Park will open at 10:30 a.m.

On the same day, Mercado De la Guerra downtown will have a ribbon cutting with the Old Spanish Days Board of Directors and members of the Santa Barbara City Council on stage at 11:00 a.m.

“We want the community to be with us here. Mercados are very important for Fiesta and the community,” said La Presidente Maria Cabrera.

Normally, there’s no problem getting an attendance at either mercados, but with COVID issues still lurking, organizers and nonprofits are doing community outreach several times. days in advance.

One of the nonprofit mercado booths is the Santa Barbara Sister City Committee. Marti Correa de Garcia said, “It supports Santa Barbara Puerto Valarta sister city projects and one of the reasons we even started the event is because we’re having an I Madonnari in Puerto Vallarta.”

Other booths represent non-profit community groups and specific needs in schools, including sports teams. Some stalls strictly fundraise for Old Spanish Days, which is also non-profit.

Now in its 98th year, Fiesta has made improvements to the mercados where thousands of people visit – often, at both venues.

Mercado division head Marge Romero said: “It’s very impressive because I remember when I started with Fiesta it looked like a little slum.” She says the stalls have been upgraded and more plans will take place in the future with the vendor space.

“You have food, you have music, bands, dancer entertainment and merchandise,” Cabrera said of the variety of mercados.

Mercado del Norte co-chair Isis Wills-Saltzman said the MacKenzie Park mercado will have more than 35 food and retail stalls. Nearby there will be 16 carnival rides.

“We have rides for all ages at all heights, from toddlers to adults, from a ladybug to a ferris wheel,” Wills-Saltzman said. “All kinds of delicious food, great drinks and great carnival rides.”

Many dishes are prepared with family recipes and also by local chefs. “There’s pride in the kitchen and we also have restaurants, top restaurants. The best place to come and eat during Fiesta week,” Cabrera said.

Fiesta leaders showed up in front of the event at every turn to remind the community to visit many places during the Old Spanish Days and share it with friends, family members and their neighborhoods.

Already, many homes and businesses have started adding their Old Spanish Days flags and other decorations.

For more information go to: Old Spanish Days