Fiesta Days began in July 1957. It was originally called Western Fiesta, the week was more akin to a cowboy roundup and rodeo. There was plenty of square dancing and the rodeo ran for two days. Most of the events celebrated today were started that year: The Fiesta Parade, Fiesta Queen Contest and the Whiskerino "Jail and Beard-Growing" Contest.
The first parade was held on Saturday. It’s route began at West and Merchant streets, heading up to Main street and turning west to Buck Avenue. The parade was run by the Fire Department and a town barbecue was held in Andrew’s Park. It was on Sunday that the first Whiskerino Contest was held; where all the men in town were challenged to grow a beard. A jail was set up to incarcerate any man who hadn’t grown a beard. Even the town’s distinguished Judge S.M. Dobbins was made a “jailbird.”
City Council members dressed up in long black coats with top hats and Lincoln-style beards for their meeting during Western Fiesta. All five members took part in the parade in costume and riding donkeys.
Western Fiesta was eventually renamed Fiesta Days and honors Vacaville’s Spanish and Mexican heritage. Fiesta Days has endured for over 50 years and has become another great Downtown Vacaville tradition.
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