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Flower Girls: A lovely tradition

Photo credit: Scott Draper

he Fiesta flower girls, 140 strong this year, are a tradition whose beginning is documented as far back as 1948, but is probably older than that, according to Old Spanish Days board member and former flower girl organizer Christina Cavallero.

Cavallero said she believes the flower girls, who serve as the city of Santa Barbara's young hostesses, were passing out flowers at the train station possibly as far back as the World War II era. In the early days, the girls were older -- the youngest were around 12 -- and they wore crepe paper outfits, she said.

Today, the young hostesses, whose ages range from 7 to15, spend much of July preparing for their Fiesta duties with organizer Wendy Ayala. During Fiesta, they pass out flowers at many functions, including Fiesta Pequeña, the Zoo party, the Fiesta parade and the children's parade. They also bring the spirit and beauty of Fiesta to those in hospitals and retirement homes.

In return, they receive a ribbon and a badge from El Presidente, which many of the girls collect and display on their costumes over the years. They share in the excitement and tradition of Fiesta, and and come away with memories for a lifetime.

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