Posted on August 2, 2022
| 3:18 p.m.
A Fiesta shawl and posters are displayed during Project Fiesta! (Julia McHugh)
With the return of Santa Barbara Old Spanish Days Fiesta in 2022, Project Fiesta!, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum‘s annual exhibit that celebrates the traditions of the citywide celebration.
Due to pandemic restrictions, the museum has presented limited Fiesta exhibits for the past three years, including one entirely outdoors. This year’s Fiesta project! is back inside the museum, 136 E. De la Guerra St., and features exhibits of beautifully restored costumes, shawls, posters, artwork, artifacts, and historic photos.
To learn more about the exhibit, which is on view through September 11, visit www.sbhistorical.org. For more information on Old Spanish Days Fiesta, visit www.sbfiesta.org.
New this year – Masks and extracts from albums
Several whimsical handmade fabric and papier-mâché masks used in Fiesta shows of the 1950s and 1960s are on display for the first time in this exhibit. They were created by Jerry Brosik for use in the folk dances performed on the courthouse stage during Fiesta.
The pig, the reptile, the two roosters and other masks are on loan from the John E. Profant Foundation for the Arts. These masks and many more can be seen in exhibit photos of historic and modern Fiesta performances.
A large album from the first year of Old Spanish Days is among 47 albums spanning 80 years that were recently transferred by Old Spanish Days to the museum’s Gledhill Research Library. The featured book has been fully digitized and can be explored by visitors to the exhibition.
“We want to pull out all the stops for a major Fiesta exhibit for its 100th anniversary in two years,” Harwood said. “Our collection is vast, but there are gaps, so we are asking for the public’s help. For example, we want to display the colorful posters from each year they were made, and more movies and home movies from past Fiesta events would also be great.
The museum’s collection of Fiesta posters includes those from 55 of Fiesta’s 93-year history, including the very first poster from 1924. Thirty-eight posters have yet to be acquired.
Those interested in helping to complete the collection should contact the museum library at [email protected]
The pieces on display are drawn from the museum’s varied collection of Fiesta-related items. The entire collection includes 40 works of art, thousands of photographs, hundreds of oral histories, official badges from each Fiesta, hundreds of souvenir pins, trophies, plates and dolls, as well as the head of an ox that pulled a cart in the first parade, stuffed and mounted by artist Ed Borein.
Over 200 garments are in the collection, including pieces worn in the first Fiesta in 1924, costumes worn by the first el presidentes, the dress used by Saint Barbara from 1950 to 2012, Spirit of Fiesta dresses (including before they were required to be white), and clothing from historic families such as De la Guerra.
Admission to the Santa Barbara Historical Museum is free. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays; and Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. To learn more, visit www.sbhistorical.org.