July 9 2004

Mission San Diego Alcalá Festival of the Bells

California’s oldest church celebrates is 235th birthday

The Mission San Diego de Alcalá is celebrating its 235th birthday with a two day celebration, The Festival of the Bells, on July 17 & 18, 2004.

The San Diego Mission invites the whole community to join in the festivities of California’s first church. This family-oriented event begins on July 17 at 10:00 a.m. and runs through Sunday evening until 6:30 p.m. The “Fiesta” features non-stop cultural entertainment featuring live bands and dancers, a children’s area with rides, games and activities, a rock climbing wall, llama rides, astro jump, Irish Bingo and Pokerino. Additionally, the “Fiesta” features a huge selection of ethnic and American style foods, a beer garden, profession al pottery demonstrations and sale, a plant boutique, re-sale book area, raffles, prizes, and fun for all. ADMISSION IS FREE! The event will also hold an annual pancake breakfast on Sunday morning form 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the Mission Courtyard. Cost for the breakfast is $3.00.

Two major events will highlight the weekend’s activities:

Saturday, July 17 – 12:00 p.m. “Blessing of the Bells”

The “Blessing of the Bells” is a ceremonial ringing of all of the old mission bells and will take place in front of the church, below the campanile. Originally sued to summon workers and parishioners from miles around for meals and special announcements, today only four out of the five historic bells are rung on this weekend due to their exceptionally fragile condition.

Sunday, July 18 – 3:00 p.m. “Blessing of the Animals”

In the courtyard’s festival stage, Monsignor Thomas Prendergast presides over the annual “Blessing of the Animals”, a procession of beloved animals of all kinds, shapes and sizes, who with their owners are serenaded by a mariachi band as they march by for their blessing. This is considered one of the highlights of the weekend and a sight not to be missed!

The Mission San Diego de Alcala is centrally located at 10818 San Diego Mission Road, just off the Interstate exchanges of I-15 & I-8, east of Qualcomm Stadium and convenient to the last trolley stop.

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