Santa Barbara's cultural heritage has the spotlight over the next several days as the citywide Old Spanish Days Fiesta returns for its 71st year.
The festival, which will run through Sunday, features music, dance, a parade, a rodeo, carnivals and outdoor Spanish markets. Most admissions are free. Here are some highlights:
* \o7 Celebracion de los Dignatarios\f7 --The general public is invited to mingle with local dignitaries at the Santa Barbara Zoo today from 5 to 8 p.m. Top Santa Barbara restaurants--including Cafe Buenos Aires, Emilio's Trattoria and Mariann's--will serve a variety of cuisine. There will be music, dancing and a strolling mariachi band. Tickets are $18. Call 963-4408.
* \o7 Noches de Ronda\f7 --Spanish music, song and dance will envelop the outdoor Courthouse Sunken Gardens, at Anacapa and Figueroa streets, beginning at 8 tonight and running through Saturday.
* \o7 El Mercado de la Guerra\f7 --The Spanish Marketplace at De La Guerra Plaza will be open 11 a.m. to midnight daily, offering plenty of food and entertainment. \o7 El Mercado del Norte\f7 , a similar marketplace with Spanish and Western music and puppet shows, also will be open 11 a.m. to midnight daily at McKenzie Park, Las Positas and State streets.
* Fiesta Rodeo and Stock Horse Show--At the Earl Warren Showgrounds, 7 nightly. (Also, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.) Tickets are $15 and $12 (reserved box seats), $7 and $5 (general admission). Call 682-5848.
* Carnival--There will be rides and games at La Playa West parking lot at Santa Barbara City College along Shoreline Drive. The carnival will run 5 p.m. to midnight today, noon to midnight Friday and Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
* Tri-Tip Dinner--First Methodist Church at Garden and Anapamu streets will host a feast nightly from 5:30 to 7:30; $8 (adults), $7 (children). Call 963-3579.
* \o7 El Desfile Historico\f7 --The Spanish Days parade will begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Shoreline Drive and Cabrillo Boulevard, making its way along the beach and up State Street to Sola Street.
* \o7 El Desfile de los Ninos\f7 --The children's parade will be held Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. It will travel along Cabrillo Boulevard from Stearns Wharf to Ortega Street.
* \o7 Tardes Do Ronda\f7 --Local youth will perform at the children's variety show Saturday, 1:30 to 4 p.m. at the Courthouse Sunken Gardens.
For a complete schedule of events and more information, call 962-8101.
Broadway show tunes, movie musical standards, pop music and a little bit of country will be on tap Friday when local singers Mim Abbey and Clark Sayre bring their nightclub acts to Maxi's Lounge at Fess Parker's Red Lion Resort Hotel in Santa Barbara.
Abbey has performed with the Santa Barbara Civic Light Opera and the Santa Barbara Carolers Quartet. Sayre, a fifth-grade teacher, founded the light opera's Youth Theater Program and teaches the Young Playwright's Workshop for Santa Barbara's Access Theater company.
Show times are 7 and 9:30 p.m. (both vocalists will perform at both shows). Tickets are $12.50. Call 963-4408. The Red Lion is at 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd.