Old Santa Ynez Days


Get ready for a good old time at Old Santa Ynez Days

 By Misty Hall

Old Santa Ynez Days returns to the Central Coast June 21 through 23. Along with the traditional favorite activities of the weekend, this year’s 60th annual celebration also includes several new events for 2024. Established in 1882, Old Santa Ynez Days is a nod to the community’s ranching and agricultural history.

“Old Santa Ynez Days was formerly called Tortilla Days from 1962 to 1974, and included a tortilla toss as one of the activities,” said Linda Small, executive director of the Santa Ynez Chamber of Commerce, organizers of the weekend. “The tortilla toss is still one of the activities today. The name was changed in 1975 to Old Santa Ynez Days.”

Get to Sagunto Street early to claim your spot on the parade route. Photo by Shelby Caitlin Photography

Start the weekend off right at the Kick-Ass Kick-Off Party Friday night from 6 to 9 pm at the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Parks-Janeway Carriage House. Boogie down to live music and enjoy a Central Coast pig roast barbecue. This museum-sponsored event will feature all the fixins that put this region on the culinary map.

Sagunto Street is the place to be on Saturday morning. Get there early to claim your spot along the sidewalk for the Old Santa Ynez Days Street Faire and Hometown Parade. Once you drop your chairs, stop in at one of the local restaurants for breakfast, or grab a bite to eat from one of the many food trucks in town for the festivities. Be sure to buy yourself a $1 commemorative leather badge, or risk getting put in the “jail” float in the parade! Get back to your seats by 10 am to enjoy the parade of horses, wagons, floats, dogs, the jail, and more. This year’s parade honors the Santa Ynez Valley Elks as the Grand Marshal.

Get ready for a rip-roaring good time at the rodeo! Photo by Andrea Kaus

Stick around after the parade ends for some great shopping at the downtown boutiques as well as from popup vendors. There’s plenty to do throughout the day: Grab a drink at the beer garden, taste local wines and olive oils, visit the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum and Parks-Janeway Carriage House, check out the historic Santa Ynez Library, join the giant line dance party in the street, and participate in the traditional Santa Ynez Tortilla Toss. Don’t feel like walking? Hop on a free carriage ride to go from place to place.

There’s plenty of fun for the kids, too, at the Kids’ Corral. Expanded for 2024, it will include booths with games and face painters, as well as a bounce house, pony rides and even a farm animal petting zoo. Also larger than last year, the “Touch a Truck” area promises all the big trucks that kids (and, let’s face it, adults too!) love: tractors, tow trucks and even a few specialty vehicles from law enforcement agencies. You’ll find it in the Red Barn parking lot on Edison Street.

It wouldn’t be Old Santa Ynez Days without excellent barbecue! Photo by Shelby Caitlin Photography

Grab lunch downtown then head on over to the Rodeo. It starts at 1 pm Saturday and runs through 5 pm Sunday, and is hosted by the Santa Ynez Valley Western Heritage Foundation. It is a PRCA qualifying event, so you’ll find some of the area’s best riders in the arena. Events include bull riding, saddle bronc, tie-down roping, barrel racing, break-away, team roping, steer wrestling, and even junior events like mutton busting and stick horse racing. Between events in the arena, enjoy live music and grab food, drink, and local wares. Get your tickets early at syvwhf.org.

Need a place to stay or additional information for your weekend in Santa Ynez? Visit SantaYnezChamber.org for suggestions!

For more information on the entire Old Santa Ynez Days weekend, visit oldsantaynezdays.com