February 23, 2024

The Pizen Switch Times

Established 2021

Yerington Portuguese Festa 2023 Continues Local Tradition That Began in 1919

From the Yerington Portuguese Organization:

The Yerington Portuguese “Festa” was held on Sunday, June 4, 2023 at the Holy Family Catholic Hall in Yerington.

This celebration is in honor of Queen Isabella of Portugal, who prayed for help for her people during a time of great hardship and famine. On Pentecost Sunday, ships came into the harbor filled with food. A celebration was held in thanksgiving.

Yerington began its Portuguese “Festa” in 1919.

The Queen for the 2023 Celebration is Natalia Godoy-Fuentes, daughter of Gabriela Fuentes and Jose Godoy. Natalia is currently a sophomore at Yerington High School. As a junior next year, Natalia will be taking college courses. Natalia has participated in the Portuguese Festa for 6 years. Her hobbies include reading, baking, drawing and soccer.

The one-day event began with Mass at 10:30 am followed by the traditional procession to the Catholic Center. Sopas were  served at noon and a live auction will followed.

Linguisa was available for purchase and raffle tickets were sold at the Festa. The raffle prizes included a handmade afghan by Marian Pinkerton and an original painting by Frank McGowan. All proceeds from the raffle go towards the Alvin Matheus Memorial Portuguese Scholarship Fund.

Click on a photo to enlarge or to view as a slide show.

The Yerington Portuguese Organization named Mike and Cyndie Silva as the honorees of its 2023 Festa.

The Silvas can trace more than 100 years of generations in the Mason Valley. A century ago, they once operated a mercantile outside Yerington, and they were one of the Festa’s founding families.

Mike’s grandmother, Virginia Borge, was the Festa’s first queen; his Aunt Dollie followed in her footsteps some 15 years later.

Mike himself has spent nearly 30 years cooking in the kitchen on the first weekend of June. He is always among the first to arrive, generally the last to leave, and maintains the tradition of delivering any leftovers to the senior center on Sunday afternoons.

His daughter Jessi grew up working in the kitchen as well. Mike says a favorite memory was when Jessi was a young girl and accepted a commemorative ribbon on her grandmother’s behalf in a year when the Festa was dedicated to past and present queens.

He loves the camaraderie of the kitchen and setting aside day-to-day routines for a weekend of tradition. “I just want to see it keep going forward,” he says.

Cyndie grew up attending festas in the Salinas area, so it felt natural to pitch in when she and Mike were first together. Over the years, she grew to share his love for the event …. Mike even proposed to her on the dance floor at the Festa’s 100th anniversary – how could she say no? Cyndie says, “The Festa is all about tradition, values and family, especially family. What could be better than that?”

Congratulations, Mike and Cyndie, and thank you for years of dedication and service to our Festa and the Portuguese community.