Ricardo Castellanos, this year’s El Presidente of Fiesta, came into his current position well-prepared for what it would entail. Not only has he served on the board of Old Spanish Days for the past 12 years, but he has also seen many of his relatives assume the Fiesta presidency — a role he relishes despite the demanding 86-event schedule.
“It’s about the importance of traditions and educating each other,” Castellanos said, adding that he hopes future generations of his family participate in the event. “It’s not just a big party. It’s traditions, and things handed down, and how things used to be.”
In line with his theme of Viva la Familia, Castellanos credited his family and friends for their support — “They give me the spark under me” — and their stories. “That’s what I take from everybody: their stories. Luckily, I’m able to be the ambassador to that and spread those stories.”
Castellanos, who has worked in landscape architecture for 16 years, said that the event he most looks forward to is the Mission show at Fiesta Pequeña, for which, in earlier years, he helped build the stage and organize the Porta-Potties. “Looking at the Mission when the sun goes down and the lights go up … It’s pretty spectacular,” he said. “I hope that everybody, at one point in their life, gets to see it.”