Friday, August 12, 2011

Viva la Fiesta!

Old Spanish Days Fiesta has been a yearly tradition in Santa Barbara since 1924. It is a week long celebration of the Spanish heritage of the city and includes parades, carnivals, street fairs, music and dance performances, and food. Oh, the food!

We headed up last weekend for some Fiesta-ing and were able to meet up with friends and family throughout the day. Baby Bear slept the whole way up, but as soon as we parked the car we woke right up, as if he knew it was time for some fun!

"Mamaaaa!" (I think he was enthusiastically thanking me for his first sprinkled cake donut experience.)

Traditionally, El Desfile de Los Ninos (the Children's Parade) is held on Saturday morning. We made it there and found a spot just as things were wrapping up, but were still able to see some great floats and adorable costumed little ones.

note adorable mustached baby in front...

Miss Hawaiian Tropic and her minions. (I could be wrong on the minions thing, I didn't actually read their signs.)

No Fiesta celebration would be complete without my favorite tradition, Cascarones! These hollowed out confetti eggs are one of the things I remember enjoying as a kid during Fiesta. Although it seems like the 4 for a dollar price tag hasn't changed since then, the attention to detail and decoration has increased dramatically. Just look at some of these festive little eggs:

But I think it was a tie for my favorite between these Darth Vader ones:

And these little guys complete with sombreros and cervesas:

The one in the bottom left looks like he's had a few too many!

Baby Bear had his first cascarone experience after the parade finished. It went a little something like this:

"Oooooh pretty, and sparkly! Thanks Mom, I love it..."

"Look, you can break it on Dada's head!"

"Whhhyyyyy!? Why would you give me something so wonderful and then break it right in front of me?!?!"

Poor little guy. We made up for it and gave him another, which he held close (and he kept a closer eye on us this time.)

Then he got the hang of it and realized he could poke out the top...

...and make a mess (which is his life's mission at this age) all in the name of Fiesta!

We met up with friends after the parade to check out El Mercado de la Guerra, have some food, and enjoy the entertainment.

I love how it looks like the boys are having a conversation in this one. 

There was some tickling by Poppa Bear.

More tickling.

Then time to fight the crowds with a stroller and a wagon. I had to snap this picture of these two pushing the kids along because 5 years ago we would have celebrated Fiesta a LOT differently!

The kiddoes enjoyed some churros from their sheltered little spot amongst the crowds.

Mmmm, cinnamon & sugar goodness!

Don't you just love those curls, I am continually jealous. (I know, grass is always greener...)

As we were leaving we ran into our lovely friend who, at 9 months pregnant with baby #3, was taking part in another traditional Fiesta activity: attending to her daughter as she performed countless dances thoughout the week with her studio. I think at any given moment during the first week in August there are at least 15 different places you could be watching a dance performance.

We also ran into two of Baby Bear's Tias with a few of his cousins. (By a few, I mean at least 5... there are 12 of them after all.)

Baby Bear loves his cousins!

After enjoying a popsicle followed by a change into a dry shirt, we headed to the Courthouse Sunken Gardens for the Tardes de Ronda childrens variety show to check out the dancers. You can't really ask for a more picturesque backdrop...

Not surpisingly Baby Bear loved it, and danced along with the kids on stage from our spot on the grass. He even insisted on climbing over, under, and through all the chairs and blankets on the lawn to get to the very front of the stage to watch the performances. But we settled on the steps for a while.

With a quick stop back at the wagon for a snack.

Before more fun with the remaining confetti eggs.

In between performances, he found other ways to amuse himself.

But eventually it was time to call it a day, so we headed home to wait another year for tacos and confetti!

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