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El Desfile de los Niños

Photo credit: Scott Draper

nergetic dancing and joyful cries of "Viva la Fiesta" fill the air each year as local children parade through the streets for El Desfile de los Niños.

Through the parade, Santa Barbara's young people claim their own piece of Fiesta tradition even as they learn what the festivities are all about.

It began in 1929, when community volunteers teamed with the City Recreation Department to stage the first procession. Over the years, it's evolved into an event that scores high marks with viewers young and old.

Waving to their parents and friends, elaborately dressed children roll through town in homemade floats covered with flowers, balloons and streamers. Even sleeping babies are unwittingly "pushed" into the event, as parents troll them down the street in elaborately bedecked strollers.

Family pets yap along with the parade music as they follow the procession and cheer the walkers on as they make their long trek through town.

The Junior Spirit of Fiesta, a girl selected to represent the youth of Santa Barbara, leads the procession each year with deft dance steps. This year's Junior Spirit is 11-year-old Jessica Haro of La Colina Junior High.

El Desfile de los Niños begins at 10 a.m. Aug. 2, and proceeds from Victoria Street, down State Street and wraps up at Ortega Street.

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