Cultures come together and history comes alive at the 44th Annual Cabrillo Festival, one of the oldest cultural events in San Diego. Cabrillo National Monument Acting Superintendent Wendy Janssen, Cabrillo Festival, Inc. President Mary Correia and Naval Base Point Loma Commanding Officer, Capt. Mark Patton, announced today that the festival will take place on Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30.
This year’s festival opens with a 16th century Spanish Soldier’s Living History Encampment, on Saturday September 29 from 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM, at Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego’s National Park. The half hour National Park Service film, “In Search of Cabrillo,” will be presented in the Cabrillo National Monument auditorium at 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM. “The Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo and the Age of Exploration” exhibit will be open from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM at the visitor center.
Select images from the Southwest Collection/Special Collection Archives of Texas Tech University’s exhibition, “Tengo Casi 500 Años: Africa’s Legacy in Mexico, Central and South America” by photographer Tony Gleaton, will be on display in the Cabrillo National Monument auditorium through October 15, 2007. At 12:00 Noon on 29 September, Mr. Gleaton will present a PowerPoint presentation expanding on his lecture, Africa’s Legacy in Mexico, Central and South America, concentrating on Northern New Spain from the 1600’s through 1834, in the Cabrillo National Monument auditorium.
Africa’s Legacy in Mexico was originally exhibited in the U.S. by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service from 1993-1996, and consisted of 44 images primarily from Mexico’s Pacific coastal region, known as “Costa Chica.” As the Costa Chica region of Mexico is close to Navidad, where Cabrillo launched his fleet on June 22, 1542, it is likely that ancestors of the Afro-mexicanos depicted in the images helped construct Ca-brillo’s ships or were amongst his crew, who arrived in San Miguel (today’s San Diego) on September 28, 1542.
The festival continues with a concert by Navy Band Southwest, Kumeyaay Bird Songs and a Commemorative Ceremony and Wreath Laying on 29 September at 4:00 PM at the statue of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo (Joao Rodrigues Cabrilho), located at Cabrillo National Monument. H. Paul Cuero, Jr., Chairman of the Campo Kumeyaay Nation, (one of twelve bands of Kumeyaay-Diegueño Indians whose ancestors met Cabrillo when he landed at what is now San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542), will give the keynote address.
Because September 29, 2007 is National Public Lands Day, a “Fee Free Day,” no entrance fee will be charged at Cabrillo National Monument and all activities at the park will be free of charge.
The main event of the festival is the Open House on Sunday, 30 September, from 11:00 AM 3:30 PM. For the second straight year, the Cabrillo Festival Open House will take place at Ballast Point, believed to be the actual location where Cabrillo landed on September 28, 1542. Ballast Point is located on Naval Base Point Loma, at the south end of Rosecrans Street. Admission is free.
The Cabrillo Festival Open House will feature colorful displays of dancing, storytelling and music from Mexico, Native America, Portugal and Spain.
This event features Mexican, Native American, Portuguese and Spanish food; Kumeyaay basketweaving; flint knapping and acorn grinding demonstrations; a living history encampment, where 16th century Spanish soldiers demonstrate the arms, armor, implements and daily life; children’s activities and 2007 Miss Cabrillo Festival, Felicia Coito.
The re-enactment of Cabrillo’s historic landing at Ballast Point, at 1:00 PM, is always a highlight of the festival. Narrated by television personality Jack White, re-enactors dressed as Cabrillo and crew will sail into San Diego Bay aboard San Salvador (Californian from the San Diego Maritime Museum), landing at Ballast Point and “claiming the land” for the King of Spain.
Throughout the day, there will be basket weaving demonstrations by Eva Salazar (San José de la Zorra Reservation), flintknapping and knot-tying demonstrations, and the 16th century Spanish Soldiers Living History Encampment with National Park Service staff and Volunteers-In-Parks from Cabrillo National Monument.
Staff and volunteers from the Barona Cultural Center and Museum will be on hand, throughout the day, to tell about their programs and the peoples who inhabited the San Diego area before Cabrillo’s arrival and their descendents. The Portuguese Historical Center will have an exhibit on Portuguese history and geography. High Tech High School will have a display of maps, photos and books from their research about San Diego Bay and it’s peoples, past and present.
Taken from the pages of history, the Cabrillo Festival brings to life the story of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese conquistador and explorer in Mexico and Central America, who spent his youth in Cuba. Cabrillo sailed for the King of Spain in search of new lands and wealth and helped establish trade routes between Asia and the Americas, playing an important role in the beginnings of today’s global economy. Traveling along the West Coast of Baja California, Cabrillo and his crew eventually reached what is now known as San Diego on September 28, 1542, where they were met by the native Kumeyaay/Diegueño Indians, also known as Iipay or Tipay. Unaware of the historical significance of his voyage, Cabrillo secured his place in history and now thousands journey to Cabrillo National Monument each year to commemorate the explorer who touched so many of the cultures of present day San Diego.
Cabrillo National Monument, located on Point Loma at the south end of Catalina Boulevard, is open daily from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. Public Transportation (#28 Bus) is available from the Old Town Transit Center to both Naval Base Point Loma and Cabrillo National Monument, and visitors are encouraged to help reduce traffic congestion and emissions which contribute to global climate change by taking public transportation.