San Gabriel, Calif. -- San Gabriel Mission will celebrate its 243rd birthday on Aug. 29-31, with many festivities at its annual fiesta that is always held Friday through Sunday of Labor Day weekend.
The fiesta will be open on Fri., Aug. 29, from 6 p.m. to midnight, Sat., Aug. 30, from noon to midnight, and Sun., Aug. 31, from noon to midnight. On Friday, Aug. 29, the Ringing of the Bells Ceremony will start the fiesta at 6 p.m. at the mission bell wall, followed by the Blessing of the Fiesta Grounds.
Saturday, Aug. 30, festivities start early with Celebrating Our Heritage Walk or Bike to Los Angeles. Walkers start with registration from 5:45 a.m. to 6:30 a.m., when walkers leave Plaza Park next to San Gabriel Mission and go to El Pueblo de Los Angeles by Olvera Street. Bicyclists can register from 6:45 a.m. until 8 a.m. when they go to El Pueblo de Los Angeles. The event is free and all bicyclists of any age must wear a helmet. Both walkers and bicyclists will have an escort and a bus following to pickup tired participants if there are any.
The Children’s and Pet’s Costume Contest will begin at mission’s fiesta stage at 9 a.m., followed by Blessing of the Animals at 10:30 a.m. Gabrieleno indians and re-enactors of history are invited to be in the mission gardens from noon to 4 p.m. Re-enactors invited are Fr. Junipero Serra, Blacksmith Klaus Duebbert, a rope maker, soldiers, and other re-enactors. There is no admission fee on Aug. 30-31, to the mission’s museum and gardens from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Entrance is at the gift shop.
The Birthday Cake Celebration is scheduled for the Fiesta Stage at 5 p.m. Happy Birthday will be sung for the mission and for anyone with a birthday close to the fiesta. Free birthday cake will be given to fiesta attendees while cake is available. There will be the Art and Photography Show in the gardens from noon to 4 p.m.
On Sunday, Aug. 31, the Founders’ Memorial Mass at 9:30 a.m. will be in the old mission church. There will be the Art and Photography Show in the gardens again from noon to 4 p.m.
Among the traditions of the fiesta are the Royal Court Contest and the Fiesta Royal Court members representing the mission at its fiesta and throughout the year at church, civic and social events. This year’s Royal Court includes Queen Sarah Hauffen-Salgado of Gabrielino High School, Princesses Marla Cueva of Cal State Los Angeles, Gissele Mercado of Temple City High School, Jessica Moreno of Rosemead High School and Anne Renderos of Pasadena City College.
The fiesta will include religious, historical and cultural festivities, small and large rides, game booths, international foods, entertainment in the evenings, and prize drawings totaling more than $9,000 on Aug. 31, at 11:45 p.m. during closing ceremonies on the fiesta stage.
Among the free entertainment in the evenings featured this year on Aug. 29, will be Susie Hansen Latin Jazz Band from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., and on Aug. 30, The In Crowd and The Story Tellers from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Corazon Salvaje Band from 10:45 p.m. to midnight, and on Aug. 31, will be ACE band from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Also, bingo will be played in the air conditioned parish center on Aug. 29 from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Aug. 30, from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., and on Aug. 31 from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.
San Gabriel Mission is located at 427 S. Junipero Serra Dr., San Gabriel, CA 91776, about two miles north of the San Bernardino Freeway I-10 (exit at Del Mar Avenue, travel north about one and a half miles to Mission Road, turn left and travel one-half mile to the mission parking lot for free parking or free parking on nearby streets or at fiesta-marked parking lots.
More information is available from the mission rectory office at (626) 457-3035 and at www.sangabrielmission.org.