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By Allison Jarrell

The Fiesta Association once again bid farewell to the swallows during its annual barbecue fundraiser at Reata Park. During the Oct. 24 event, the nonprofit also ushered in a new season of dignitaries and events leading up to the 58th Swallows Day Parade, set for March 12.

Tom Scott and Beverly Blake, president and vice president of the Camino Real Playhouse, will serve for a second consecutive season as Señor San Juan and Miss Fiesta.

“We’ve invited Tom and Beverly to represent the San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association for a second year because they did a fantastic job last year,” said Fiesta Association President David Faylor. “They’re great ambassadors.”

This year’s junior dignitaries are Andy Cain, 14, of San Juan Capistrano, and Zoe Gardner, 10, of Mission Viejo. Cain said he’s very excited to give back to his community as this year’s Junior Mr. Fiesta. Gardner was ecstatic to be selected as this year’s Junior Miss Fiesta, following in the footsteps of her older brother, Gabriel, who was Junior Mr. Fiesta in 2001, and her grandpa, Señor San Juan Tom Scott.

In addition to dancing and live country music performed by The Kelly Boys Band, this year’s barbecue included the Wild Horses San Juan Capistrano group, with local artists Art Guevara and Dana Yarger (and project lead Tom Scott) all in attendance. Guevara brought his painted horse sculpture to the event to raise awareness for the protection of wild horses across the country.

This was the first year that the barbecue also included a kids’ pumpkin carving contest. Ashley Garcia, 17, of San Juan Capistrano, came in first place for her spooky-faced pumpkin, complete with moon-shaped eyes. Her sister, Stephanie Garcia, 14, and Isabella Pedraza, 8, came in second place for their creepy take on the classic jack-o-lantern.

The Fiesta Association will kick off the 2016 Fiesta de las Golondrinas season with sign-ups on Jan. 2 for the Fiesta Grande Hairiest Man contest and a mixer and membership drive on Jan. 15. For more information on future Fiesta Association events, visit www.swallowsparade.com.

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