September 26, 2008

45th Annual Cabrillo Festival

Cultures come together and history comes alive at the 45th Annual Cabrillo Festival, one of the oldest cultural events in San Diego. The festival will take place on Saturday, September 27 and Sunday, September 28, 2008.

This year’s festival opens with a 16th century Spanish Soldier’s Living History Encampment, on Saturday September 27 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.

The festival continues with a concert by Navy Band Southwest Brass Ensemble, Kumeyaay Bird Songs and a Commemorative Ceremony and Wreath Laying on Saturday, September 27 at 4:00 PM at the statue of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo (Joao Rodrigues Cabrilho), located at Cabrillo National Monument. Historian Joseph Sanchez, Ph. D., Superintendent of the National Park Service’s Spanish Colonial Research Center and Petroglyph national monument of Albuquerque, New Mexico, will give the keynote address.

Because September 27, 2008 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, September 28, from 11:00 AM – 3:30 PM. For the third 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 basket weaving; a living history encampment, where 16th century Spanish soldiers demonstrate the arms, armor, implements and daily life; children’s activities and 2008 Miss Cabrillo Festival.

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 (the clipper schooner Lynx from Portsmouth, New Hampshire), 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), 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 its peoples, past and present. Local artist and muralist Carmen Linares-Kalo will exhibit Aztec art. The Maritime Museum of San Diego will have a display about the replica of Cabrillo’s flagship, San Salvador, which they will soon begin building, as well as an exhibit about the Maritime Museum of San Diego and its programs. Confirmed crafts vendors, including Gourd Art of Old Town San Diego, Eva Salazar (baskets) and Bayshots Photography (photographs of tall ships on San Diego Bay, including reenactments of Cabrillo’s landing from past Cabrillo Festivals) will offer festival-goers the opportunity to purchase crafts associated with the people and cultures that are part of Cabrillo’s story.

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.

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