Presidio of San Francisco (June 22, 2009) -- In 1776, a group of soldiers and pioneering families completed their long trip from Mexico to the bay in Alta California. Here they settled and built El Presidio, a fortified settlement. From this modest beginning, the Presidio and the City of San Francisco would be born.
More than 230 years later, this anniversary is still commemorated in the Presidio. For the 10th consecutive year, the park is hosting Pasados del Presidio, a series of free public programs commemorating "San Francisco's birthday" and the founding of the Presidio.
"Pasados del Presidio is an annual tradition which has been growing over the past 10 years," says Jeff Weik, public programs manger with the Presidio Trust. "The Presidio Trust and our volunteers work with an extraordinary group of partners who help make this program happen. With an afternoon filled with activities for kids, two evening concerts that have a following all their own and a commemorative program, it really is a unique San Francisco experience."
Events kick off Thursday, June 25 at 7 pm with a lively conversation between "Juan Bautista de Anza" and "Junipero Serra" at the Presidio's Officers' Club. Presented by Don Garate, Chief of Interpretation for the Tumacacori National Historical Park, and educator Bruce Buonauro, the two will provide a look at Spanish colonial life and the settlement of Alta California.
The following day, hundreds of children are expected to take part in "An Afternoon of Fun" at the Officers' Club. From noon until 3 pm, kids and their families can experience early California life through traditional Ohlone songs and stories; music and dance from the Spanish era; and hands on activities.
"They can grind corn, make adobe bricks, and create and paint pottery. Plus, where else can kids pet a donkey, watch horses, and meet descendants of early California settlers, all within a beautiful park setting?" asks Lisa Hillstrom, who organizes the event each year for the Presidio Trust. "It's really about creating a day for kids that is fun and piques their interest in and curiosity about the Presidio so they'll want to learn more about its history and feel comfortable returning with their families."
Among the performers will be Lance Beeson who is also a Los Californianos, a descendent of members of the original settlers in the Anza party.
Later that night Evening Fandango, a concert by the renowned Coro de Hispano de San Francisco, will celebrate the songs and dances of early California. Directed by Juan Pedro Gaffney R., guest artists include popular Bay Area singer Yolanda Aranda as well as Jose Luis Orozco and Los LupeÃ±os de San José. The concert has become so popular that, for the first time, a second show has been added on Saturday night. Both concerts begin at 7 pm at the Officers' Club. A free PresidiGo Shuttle will run until 9pm to connect concert-goers with Muni lines 43 and 45.
The weekend culminates Saturday morning when Los Californianos, the descendants of the early California settlers honor their ancestors, the founding of the Presidio and the birth of San Francisco with a ceremony featuring costumed riders on horseback. The ceremony begins at 11 am at the Pershing Square flag pole near the Officers' Club.
For a complete list of free Pasados del Presidio activities and programs visitwww.presidio.gov/calendar or call (415) 561-5500.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to oversee the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It also comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District."