People of Portuguese heritage will descend on Pismo Beach this weekend for the 51st annual St. Anthony Festa, a three-day celebration starting today.
The traditional festival honors Portugal's patron saint and celebrates the faith and heritage of the Azorean Portuguese community in California, but members of the community are invited to join in the festivities, a festival spokesman said.
Festivities will kick off today when donors attend a luncheon at noon at the St. Anthony Festa grounds, 390 Bello St.
Then, the new festa queens will be crowned in a ceremony at 7 p.m. in the Pismo Beach Veterans Memorial Building, 780 Bello St.
Following the ceremony, attendees will dance to the music of Alcides Machado.
Sunday morning, the outgoing and incoming queens and their courts will be featured in a parade in which representative queens from festa committees all over California will participate, the spokesman said.
The traditional walking parade is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. at the Pismo Pier and wind through town to St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, 800 Bello St., where Mass will be celebrated.
Parade participants then will regroup and walk to the festa grounds, where sopas - a traditional type of beef stew ladled over French bread - will be served to the crowd at noon.
The sopas tradition honors Queen Isabella of Portugal (1261-1325), a saint whose kindness often led her to feed the poor of her adopted country of Portugal, the spokesman explained.
The Pismo Beach celebration crowns three queens, who will represent the St. Anthony Festa in the 2009-10 year at various other festas around the state.
This year, the senior queen is Mary Elane Carlson, daughter of Mary Anne Whiteside of Tulare, who will be attended by Dominique Chamalbide, daughter of Misty and Daniel Chamalbide of Tulare, and Alyssa Martins, daughter of Tina and Carlos Martins, also of Tulare.
The junior queen is Kortnie Dias, daughter of Kim Costa-Dias and Joe Dias of Tulare, who will be attended by Darienne Mendonca, daughter of Stacia and Anthony Mendonca of Tulare, and Kanydee Tigner, daughter of Dina and Mark Tigner of Tulare.
The little queen is Kayly Faria, daughter of Eric Faria of Visalia, who will be attended by Lindsay Mendonca, daughter of John and Suzanne Mendonca of Tulare, and Jessica Carlson, daughter of Mary Anne Whiteside of Tulare.
August 15, 2009