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By Jan Siegel
As a part of the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society community outreach program, we are celebrating the 6th Annual Fiesta Days at the Historical Society on Los Rios Street on Sunday, April 29 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event, which is free to the public, will include arts, crafts, exhibits and demonstrations.
Bob Minty will exhibit his great whaling collection. Again, Bea Torres will demonstrate tortilla making. A 1890s chore table gives people the opportunity to figure out what and how equipment was used before electricity. Rag dolls, cornhusk dolls, string art, rope making and games round out the activities planned for all ages.
An exhibition at the Leck House celebrates the 100th anniversary of the farmhouse and the history of farming in the Capistrano Valley. Stencil art was a big activity 100 years ago and Diane Lewis will be on hand to demonstrate how to make this simple yet useful and elegant art form.
A local mariachi band of young people will perform on the grounds of the Historical Society at 12:30 p.m.
The old Silvas Adobe has finally been restored through the efforts of volunteers from the Historical Society. Tom Ostensen, Historical Society president, has spent the past five years along with a group of dedicated helpers restoring the two-room adobe. The public will be able to enter the building for the first time during the Fiesta Days event. The Silvas Adobe will be used to display the Mexican heritage that is so important for our community.
San Juan Capistrano is the oldest community in Orange County and there is no better way to start National Preservation Week than to participate in Fiesta Days.
Fiesta celebrations in San Juan Capistrano go back to Mission days. There were gatherings for family, friends and neighbors to come together and enjoy each other. Don Juan Forster was famous for his fiestas. Judge Egan was called ‘Mr. Hospitality’ because of the parties he held at the Egan House. The Rios Adobe was always a place for family gatherings and still is today.
Spend a moment in time, as you step back in time, and enjoy life as it was more than 100 years ago. In the days before electricity, before cell phones, before iPads and before computers, people came together to share stories, crafts, food and conversation. Come and appreciate those days and the cultures that make our community truly unique.
Jan Siegel is a 28-year resident of San Juan Capistrano. She served on the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission for 13 years and has been a volunteer guide for the San Juan Capistrano Friends of the Library’s architectural walking tour for 18 years. She was named Woman of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce in 2005, Volunteer of the Year in 2011 and was inducted into the city’s Wall of Recognition in 2007.