Romance in the Air: Sunday’s Fiesta Party welcomed this year’s El Presidente, Cas Stimson

2015 El Presidente Cas Stimson, second from left, greets guests at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort for the annual La Recepción del Presidente to celebrate the upcoming Fiesta week. MICHAEL MORIATIS/NEWS-PRESS

2015 El Presidente Cas Stimson, second from left, greets guests at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort for the annual La Recepción del Presidente to celebrate the upcoming Fiesta week.
MICHAEL MORIATIS/NEWS-PRESS

A perfect late afternoon turned into a warm Sunday evening, the right weather to unofficially kick off the 91st annual Old Spanish Days, La Recepción del Presidente.

This event, a gala dinner with entertainment at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, honored the current El Presidente, Cas Stimson, as well as past Presidents, board members, donors and sponsors. Around 450 were in attendance, with many turned away at the door, and El Presidente himself alluded to this as a sign of a very successful Fiesta to come. There’s never been as many Flower Girls as this year, ticketed events are sold out, and other indicators are looking toward a very busy year.

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Mediterranean flavor: Santa Barbara Greek Festival off to great start

Above, Thavma, a Greek dance group, performs Saturday during the Greek Festival at Oak Park. Below, religious icons attached to the Evil Eye, meant to protect from negative energy, are offered for sale at the festival.  NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS

Above, Thavma, a Greek dance group, performs Saturday during the Greek Festival at Oak Park. Below, religious icons attached to the Evil Eye, meant to protect from negative energy, are offered for sale at the festival.
NIK BLASKOVICH/NEWS-PRESS

The 42nd annual Santa Barbara Greek Festival opened in Oak Park Saturday and by all accounts it was a success.

The line to the gyro booth stretched long near the entrance, the dance stage was crowded with viewers and participants, the ouzo flowed freely, the food court was packed, the pastry stall tried not to run out of goods, and the sun beamed down, creating a sense that yes, this could all be happening in the Mediterranean.

The economic troubles in the home country didn’t affect this two-day fest that acts as a fundraiser for Santa Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church.

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