Hello, and welcome to the Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara website. This week-long festival was started in 1924 as a way to attract tourists to our city, honor there- opening of the Lobero Theatre, and, to celebrate the reminiscences of old-time Santa Barbara families passed down by their grandparents. For you history buffs, we invite you to visit the History pages you’ll find on our website.
Many of our Board members are descended from the first Spanish Settlers who founded Santa Barbara in 1782. They are proud of their heritage, and help keep the history, traditions and spirit of Fiesta alive. Bill Luton: Ortega Family. Jose Francisco de Ortega was the Chief Scout for the Governor/Lt. Colonel Gaspar de Portolá expedition in 1769, and was the first European to discover San Francisco Bay. He was the first Commandante of the Presidio, and upon retirement was granted Rancho Nuestra Señora del Refugio.