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The Capistrano Dispatch

Mission San Juan Capistrano honored the famed local riding group El Viaje de Portolá during its annual Romance of the Mission Benefit Gala, which saw records break in attendance and proceeds.

For more than 50 years, the riders have joined for a three-day horseback trek in the Capistrano Valley and have become supporters of the Mission, the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society and other causes.

A record 480 guests attended the Great Stone Church located event raised an estimated $260,000 to support the Mission’s preservation efforts. Last year, around $220,000 was raised.

The night included dinner and dancing accompanied by a performance in the Great Stone Church by Broadway star David Burnham, known for his role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

“Tonight we gather to take part in an evening of elegance and purpose of raising awareness and funds to protect and preserve this California landmark,” said Mechelle Lawrence Adams, executive director of the Mission, during the event. “We celebrate 11 years since our first concert in the ruins … Back then hosting an event like this evening was a dream and a risk and today it is a tradition.”

All proceeds will further the preservation of Mission San Juan Capistrano including phase two of the Sala building conservation. Find out more about the Mission at

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