top of page

Memorias de Fiesta Project

Fiesta: A Community Celebration

Santa Barbara has been host to the annual Fiesta celebration since 1924. This week-long, colorful summer festival is a showcase of music, dancing, crafts, food, and reminiscence that is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Initially conceived of as an event to attract summer tourists to Santa Barbara, Fiesta has since become a major part of Santa Barbara’s heritage, identity, and community life.

Fiesta at Old Mission Santa Barbara

Since 1927 Old Mission Santa Barbara has played a crucial role in the history of Fiesta as the site of the celebration’s opening ceremonies. This program, known as La Fiesta Pequeña (“The Little Festival”), includes a procession up the steps of the Mission, public remarks, music, dancing, and a reception. The Franciscan Friars led the first all-faith La Misa del Presidente (“President’s Mass”) at the Mission in 1936, an event that lives on today.

The Memorias de Fiesta Project

In recognition of the tremendous impact Fiesta has had on the city of Santa Barbara, its residents, and the surrounding communities over the past 95 years, the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library (SBMAL) would like to invite you to share your memories of Fiesta with us… a favorite family story, a photograph, a memento, or the thing you most look forward to each year. Whatever you feel best represents your experience of Fiesta.

SBMAL will gather your submitted Fiesta history stories and documents and will include them in a digital, community-generated exhibit showcasing our shared Fiesta history. These precious memories will remain preserved in SBMAL’s digital collections and also in the hearts and minds of those who explore the digital exhibit.

Share Your Fiesta History...


We invite you to share your favorite Fiesta stories, family photographs from Fiesta, your favorite Fiesta events, digital images of Fiesta dress, recordings or videos of someone sharing a Fiesta anecdote, or anything else related to your Fiesta history. To submit your Fiesta history to the Memorias de Fiesta Project, or for more information, please email Bryan Stevenson, SBMAL Collections and Program Manager. 


Thank you in advance for sharing your stories. We look forward to learning more about your Fiesta history!


¡Viva la Fiesta! ¡Viva la Comunidad!

SBMAL is open to researchers by appointment only.
NEW HOURS for 2024! Research hours are now available on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 10:00am to 4:00pm.

bottom of page