Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Riverdale Festa

As the new year began, I started planning which Festas we would attend...both for MY sanity and to give as much notice to the other attendant's as possible. 
 I have mentioned before that there are different reasons we have chosen where we would travel.  Sometimes we have gone because of family ties...past and present.
Sometimes for a Festa's fame.
Riverdale was one I desperately wanted to take part in. 
Riverdale is about an hour away and is another very small farming community in the valley.
It is also the hometown of this lady.
  Robi was not only my boss, but she and her family are some of the people I treasure most.
I had heard her tales of growing up in Riverdale from her as well as her mom, Grandma Winnie.
  I wanted to take part in the Festa of her childhood.
Not only did I want to attend, I wanted her to come with us.
Robi no longer drives so there were logistics that I needed to work through.
I began my covert, sneaky, behind the scene planning. 
 I talked to my dear friend, who happens to be Robi's daughter. 
 She talked to two of her boys and asked them if they would be in the parade, carrying a flag and the sign. 
They agreed. 
 I then took my queen with me and went for a visit.
Robi was delighted that we would be in her parade.
 I then told her that the only reason we chose to go to Riverdale was because of her...and she had to come with us.
And then I sweetened the pot by telling her that two of her grandbabies would be marching also.
Done deal.
In addition to Robi coming, my parents as well as my sister and her family would be there! 
This Festa was the 4th one we did in May and while the girls must have been pooped, they didn't show it. 
They spent the night with us and Sunday morning, off we went.
One the way, I received a call that our flag carrier's 24 hour bug had not ceased at the 24 hour mark.
It was okay.
I was not going to let anything spoil this day.
What mattered was that Robi was on her way.
The day was beautiful and the forcasted heat turned mild and was accompanied by a lovely breeze. 
 The Portuguese grounds and hall are gorgeous with lots of green grass and trees. 
We basically set up camp.
There was catching up to be done and stories to be told. 
We met my nephew's girlfriend who was home for a visit from college. 
Having our family attend these Festas means so much to us.
I think it means a lot to them as well.
 It was perfect.
And as it turned out, this little country town plays host to a rather large parade with many queens from the valley. 
 It was a nice surprise and it is fun to see all the capes and dresses.

This parade was well organized and efficient. 
Having said that, because the Catholic Church is next door, the parade to Mass is VERY short.

Already there.

Our girls were the first in the parade and had a great position to watch the other queens march in and the Riverdale Queens exchange their crowns.

The girls decided not to attend Mass so we went back to the hall grounds and they snacked and visited under the trees with each other.
So many things have struck me during this experience. 
 A profound one involves our son. 
 He has ALWAYS been where ever he is needed.
He anticipates what will need to happen and he is engaging with not only his little sister, but her friends. 
He teases them and helps them. 
He kicks pebbles across the parking lot with them and while he will never admit it, and I don't have proof, he might have played follow the leader.

He is the expert cape folder and can be the cape putter-onner as well.

LPP is another piece in this experience that strikes me. 
 She is not only the hairdresser, 
But she can step into the sign carrier position when unplanned needs arise.
And doesn't complain...very loudly.
And in heels, to boot.

 As Mass concluded (parts in Latin, English and Portuguese), the parade formed again...but as they exited the parking lot, it turned the OTHER way.

Confused and slightly panicked faces turned toward me. 

  As it turned out, the parade simply marched up a couple blocks, made a U-turn and travelled back to the hall.
I believe this is the first parade in which I have seen the priest walk the route as well. 
It was nice.
Do you remember the story I shared about walking into the Santa Maria Hall and seeing the spirit of my mother in law?
 This time, my father in law was with my husband during Mass. 
While I didn't see him, hubby's cousin did.
 Having died before SPF was born, she often feels sad that she is the only grandchild who never knew him. 
She carries his name with her and today, she knew he was with her as well.
One advantage of having the parade make U-Turn, is that everyone gets to see everyone. 
    Oh...and my handy dandy master checklist? 
Well, I have had to add an item.
  I forgot to bring the flag holsters. 
Having my family spend their day with us is priceless, as is having friends who are really family leave their sick flag carrier home to make new memories with us.

The photo bomber added a certain something special.

The hall for the sopas was lovely and filled with happy people.  
Lots of music and sparkly crowns. 

The newly crowned queens served the first bowls to their court, which we had not seen before. 
It is so interesting that each Festa has its own it different spices in the sopas, slightly different details in the parade or the release of doves as in Santa Maria.
Some celebrations have bands travel from hours away, like Riverdale and Thornton or just a small gathering of musicians. 
The thing that never changes is how these three conduct themselves.
They are truly the best of the best.
And to think the reason we were in Riverdale
was the three year old girl who lived in this house 80 years ago. 

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