Category Archives: Education Programs

2017 Founding Day Festival

By Kevin McGarry

Founding Ceremony. Photo by Fritz Olenberger.

The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) held its annual Founding Day Festival on Saturday, April 29th, 2017 from noon to 4:00 pm at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. This unique public educational program offers Santa Barbara residents and visitors a free, family-friendly opportunity to visit the historic park and come together to learn about and commemorate Santa Barbara’s rich history. In all, approximately 800-1,000 people attended this year’s event.

Baile de California performs. Photo by Brittany Myles.

SBTHP’s annual Founding Day Festival provides the time and space for community members and visitors to not only commemorate Santa Barbara’s founding moment but also to celebrate its layered cultural history and the diverse communities and institutions that today call Santa Barbara home. Our 2017 Festival celebrated this cultural diversity by successfully showcasing why Santa Barbara continues to be such a wonderful place to live and visit.

Folk Orchestra of Santa Barbara performs. Photo by Brittany Myles.

Directly following the 2017 Founding Day Ceremony, festival attendees enjoyed three hours of living history stations and performances by local artists, including the San Marcos High School Jazz Combo, The Folk Orchestra of Santa Barbara, Mariachi Las Olas de Santa Barbara, Spanish guitarist Chris Fossek, and flamenco dancers from Linda Vega Dance Studio. In addition, seven local artists and vendors hosted booths and sold their locally-made products, and Presidio descendants gathered to share their family history.

Community booths at the festival. Photo by Brittany Myles.

Many educational booths were offered by local nonprofit institutions, including the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library, the Santa Barbara Public Library, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Santa Barbara Historical Museum.

Linda Vega Dance Studio. Photo by Fritz Olenberger.

The Burger Bus of Santa Barbara and Kona Ice provided festival goers with delicious food. Brass Bear Brewing and Standing Sun Wines offered free tastings in one of the Presidio’s interpretive heritage gardens. In all, our 2017 Festival attracted an estimated 800 visitors to the site, doubling last year’s participation and bringing many first-time visitors to the park.

Friends from the Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library. Photo by Brittany Myles.

The SBTHP Programs Department would like to thank all local dignitaries and city officials, visitors, community members, Presidio descendants, artists, local institutions, living history interpreters, and SBTHP volunteers whose involvement in the festival helped to make this year’s Founding Day an unprecedented success. We can’t wait for next year’s festival.  ¡Viva Santa Barbara!

For a great article about the from our friends at Noozhawk click here.

For more photos from our Flickr Album, click here.

Kevin McGarry is director of programs at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. 

The History Relevancy Project Launches at Founding Day!

by Heidi Ortloff

History Relevancy project team members Nora Kassner, Heidi Ortloff, Ashely Baker, Yahjaira Cea, and Paola Dela Cruz. Photo by Heido Ortloff.

The History and Relevancy Pilot Project unveiled their first outreach effort during the Founding Day Festival at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park on April 29, 2017.  This project is a collaboration between UC Santa Barbara, California State Parks, and the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP). Together, we hope to explore the topics of migration and immigration, while also building on the park’s relationship with the surrounding community.

UC Santa Barbara Student Yahjaira Cea assisting SBTHP Board President Teraese Chin with her story. Photo by Heidi Ortloff.

On Founding Day, project staff invited visitors to share their families’ immigration stories and learn more about the pilot project. Throughout the event, visitors recorded their family stories, while UC Santa Barbara students plotted their histories on a large world map. We were able to capture the family stories of several Presidio descendants who had ancestors that traveled from Spain, to Mexico, and finally to Santa Barbara. Participants related various reasons for their family’s arrival to the Santa Barbara region, from escaping bad weather, to religious persecution, economic opportunities, and avoiding war.

UC Santa Barbara student Yahjaira Cea felt a strong sense of community after listening to various visitors’ stories noting that, “The growth of the map throughout the day expressed the beautifully diverse community that makes Santa Barbara [what it is] today.”

We hope to continue exploring the importance of immigration in our community with further outreach efforts later this year and we thank everyone who participated at our Founding Day booth on April 29.

Heidi Ortloff is an interpreter with California State Parks assigned to El Presidio SHP.

Early California Days April 6, 2017

Director of Advancement Alyssa Kichula at the Cocina. Photo by Anne Petersen.

On April 6, 2017, staff at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation welcomed 300+ local third graders to El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park for Early California Day, a day of living history demonstrations related to life in early California. Demonstrations included gardening and native plants, blacksmithing, archaeology, life of the Soldados , wool spinning, Chumash storytelling, and pottery.

Docent Sean Barnwell with students at the adobe and construction station. Photo by Anne Petersen.

We had a a busy day, and several of our newly-trained docents made their debut at the program.  We our proud to serve over 700 Santa Barbara County Students over this two-day program every spring.  If you would like to be a part of it, we can use your help!  The next Early California Days will be on Thursday  May 11. For more information, or if you are interested in volunteering for this event, please contact Kevin McGarry, Director of Programs, at kevin@sbthp.org or (805) 965-2004.

Docent Suzi Calderon Bellman discusses women’s work, including laundry, mending and keeping chickens. Photo by Anne Petersen.

For more photos from Early California Day by Mike Imwalle and Anne Petersen, please visit our Flickr album, here.

Welcome New SBTHP Docents!

We are so proud of our 2017 docent class at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation!  This talented group of volunteers has been training for the past six weeks to offer an excellent visitor experience at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park.  Their graduation comes just in time– we are expecting 300 eager third grade students on site next week for our popular Early California Days school program!

Would you like to join us and get involved?  It’s not too late!  Just drop a note to Director of Programs Kevin McGarry at kevin@sbthp.org.

 

Presidio Pastimes by Candlelight, 2017

Ray Ogella portrays a visiting padre at the Presidio.  Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Ray Ogella portrays a visiting padre at the Presidio. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

On February 2 2017 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation brought El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park to life by candlelight for the evening as part of Downtown Santa Barbara’s First Thursday program.

Hazel Lamson prepares a meal in the cocina. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Hazel Lamson prepares a meal in the cocina. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

This atmospheric evening is a community favorite as visitors gather to experience an early California cooking demonstration, learn traditional California dances and discuss the latest news in Spanish Colonial California with the Comandante and his soldados.

Dancers entertain in the Presidio Chapel. Photo by Mike Imwalle.
Dancers entertain in the Presidio Chapel. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

For more photos from this beautiful night, visit our Flickr Album here.

Veterans Day 2016 at El Presidio SHP

By Heidi Ortloff

Photo by Michael Imwalle.
Photo by Michael Imwalle.

On November 11th, 2016, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation commemorated Veterans Day with a ceremony held at El Presidio de Santa Bárbara State Historic Park. Members of Los Soldados del Real Presidio de Santa Bárbara conducted the ceremony in Spanish era uniforms and carried flags representing the five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Photo by Michael Imwalle.
Photo by Michael Imwalle.

The Santa Barbara Community Flute Ensemble accompanied the Soldados and provided American Revolution-period music. Director of Programs Kevin McGarry gave a short introduction to the ceremony, introducing the audience to the rich military history of Santa Barbara which includes the Presidio as a historic military fort. WWll veteran and SBTHP Life Honorary Director James G. Mills gave remarks on his service during WWll which provided the over fifty audience members with a personal connection to service.

James G. Mills.  Photo by Michael Imwalle.
James G. Mills. Photo by Michael Imwalle.

To conclude the event, audience members were invited to share their thoughts concerning the holiday. Many veterans spoke of the impact their service had on their lives and family, which provided a touching end to the ceremony. After the event visitors were welcome to look at a collection of military vehicles on display which were lent by Rob Gordon, as well as tour the Presidio.

Photo by Michael Imwalle.
Photo by Michael Imwalle.

For more photos from the ceremony by Michael Imwalle, visit our Flickr album here.

Heidi Ortloff is a California State Parks interpreter stationed at El Presidio SHP. 

Las Posadas 2016

by Kevin McGarry

Photo by Dr. Paul Mori.
El Coro walks down State Street. Photo by Dr. Paul Mori.

Las Posadas, a traditional reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging in Bethlehem, is a holiday tradition that occurs all over Latin America each December. The Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation  (SBTHP) hosts this program at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park and Casa de la Guerra every year.  This year, the program was scheduled on the traditional date that Posadas begins throughout Mexico, December 16.

Photo by Dr. Paul Mori.
Children represent Mary Joseph and the Angel. Photo by Dr. Paul Mori.

SBTHP’s annual Posadas reflects what this tradition might have looked like in the Presidio neighborhood in the early 1800s. The singing procession begins at the Presidio Chapel, goes up and down State Street stopping outside participating businesses and then ends with a performance and reception at Casa de la Guerra. By coming together to sing and walk together in unity, Una Noche de Las Posadas is a special annual tribute to Santa Barbara’s people, traditions and history.

Photo by Dr. Paul Mori.
Rocky and Suzi Bellman represent Jose and Maria de la Guerra. Photo by Dr. Paul Mori.

This is the second year that the Los Agaves restaurant donated their delicious food for the reception. SBTHP thanks Carlos Luna (owner of Los Agaves) for his continued generosity. The El Coro de Real leader, musician Luis Moreno, did a wonderful job again this year, adding two new songs to the choir’s repertoire and leading the singing peregrinos (pilgrims) in their procession to Casa de la Guerra. Thank you to him and to the other members of El Coro. The 2016 Posadas would not have happened without SBTHP’s committed volunteers: Judy Pearce, Suzi and Rocky Bellman, Jim Garcia, Dr. Paul Mori, Paul McGarry, Christina and Arlene Miguel and the Goodfield family. SBTHP also thanks The Towbes Foundation, Debby and Roger Aceves, David and Louise Borgatello, and Keith J. Mautino for sponsoring Una Noche de Las Posadas.

Photo by Dr. Paul Mori.
The procession is granted admittance at Casa de la Guerra. Photo by Dr. Paul Mori.

For more photos from this year’s Las Posadas by Dr. Paul Mori visit our Flickr album here.

Kevin McGarry is the Director of Programs at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. 

Dia de los Muertos 2016

Photo by Fritz Olenberger.
Photo by Fritz Olenberger.

On October 23, 2016 the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) hosted a free family craft event to celebrate Dia de los Muertos at Casa de la Guerra.  The event also included a display of ofrendas created by Presidio descendants and SBTHP staff to honor loved ones and those we lost this year.

For more beautiful photos from the event by Fritz Olenberger and Suzi Calderon Bellman, please visit our Flickr album here.