Viva La Fiesta!

1707e47c9de6bf305c9143c1031a1948Love it or hate it, Leslie does both

Like many Santa Barbarians, I have a love/hate relationship with Fiesta. I’m not one of those people who flee from town every Fiesta, but you’ll also never catch me running for La Presidenta.

My ambivalence started when I was a kid, and like most things when you’re 7 years old, it was all my mom’s fault.

You see, other than the rare button repair or sock darning, my mom didn’t know how to sew. She didn’t garden either, so even though she let me be a flower girl in the Children’s Parade I never had the prettiest dresses or the prettiest flowers to toss.

It was still fun, but I’m sure it would have been much more fun if I’d had a better outfit, Mom!

The street dances at West Beach were awesome when I was a teenager. Part of the appeal was that parents weren’t allowed, but I guess the city canceled them when they got too rowdy. I’m sure this was my mom’s fault somehow.

Still, Old Spanish Days are always a lot of fun.

It’s too many Old Spanish Nights in a row that I pay the price for.

There’s something about those hot August evenings and Mariachi music that always lead to a little too much fun in the cactus-based beverage department, then one too many late night burritos at Casablanca (R.I.P.) “to absorb the alcohol.”

After almost four decades (yikes!) of Fiesta celebrations, I’ve finally learned to pick and choose my events. It’s hard, because they’re all fun in different ways and it’s always great to see friends. But it’s also a lot of people and a lot of festivities to deal with for five days straight, not counting the pre-events that start five months before.

Did I mention it’s a LOT of people?

But I really don’t love that Fiesta feverish feeling I get towards the end of the week when hearing one more chorus of “La Bamba” will put me over the edge. And as much as I love the colorful cascarones, I hate finding confetti in my laundry basket for the next six months.

But I love watching all of the dancing, running into old friends, and the tamales at Our Lady of Guadalupe. And going to the parties-I really love going to the parties.

But I’d like them even better if I had a prettier dress.

Share your Fiesta memories with For more columns visit Originally published in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound on July 29, 2011.

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