By Katie Terou

SYV Star Intern

Downtown Santa Ynez was crowded with people eager to celebrate Old Santa Ynez Day and see the 57th annual celebratory parade on Saturday, June 8.

Farmall tractors chug along Sagunto Street.

“I’ve been here a million times. My favorite things to see are the petting zoo and the parade,” said Jessica Sarri-Wong, a native of the valley who lives in Long Beach but comes back just for Old Santa Ynez Day.

Vendors gathered on Sagunto Street to host booths that sold jewelry, pottery, clothing and more. Some also sold food and drinks, such as Los Olivos Lemons’ lemonade and the Solvang Rotary Club’s popular tri-tip sandwiches.

“It wouldn’t be Old Santa Ynez Day without the smell of smoke from the tri-tip,” said Scott Cory, a member of the Solvang Rotary and superintendent of Santa Ynez Valley Union High School.

Cory grew up in the valley and said he recently found his Old Santa Ynez Day badges from the mid-1970s when he was a youth.

The U.S. Forest Service sprayed water on the street, which misted the parade-watchers and cooled them off.

Attendees were able to purchase fundraising badges prior to the event, with all proceeds going to local schools and children’s organizations. People not wearing badges were “locked up” in the Old Santa Ynez Day Jail and had to pay a $1 “bail” to be released.

The annual parade showcased several floats, classic cars and trucks, dancers from Garcia Dance Studio, tractors, fire engines and horses, a crowd favorite.

“We always like to have the horses in town so the kids can see them,” said Bosco Carricaburu, who has been involved with running the festivities for upwards of 20 years.

The grand marshals for this year’s parade were Robert and Nancy Beauchamp, a couple with a long history on the planning committee for Old Santa Ynez Day. They rode through the parade along with Lilly Masopust, the 2019 Santa Ynez Valley Youth Recreation Queen.

The festival featured a number of activities throughout the day, including performances from local bands and dancers. There was also a tortilla toss and watermelon eating contest. Among the popular attractions were bounce houses for kids and a small bar for adults.

“I like just running into friends and having a beer in the beer garden with them,” said valley resident Ian Palmer.

Another tradition during Old Santa Ynez Day is the “Jones Fest” at Karen Jones’ house on Edison Street. The historic home is opened up for the day, and bands play into the night. The potluck-style shindig is always free to the public.

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