Presidio of San Francisco (June 24, 2010) -- 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 by the Presidio Trust, the National Park Service, and community partners. For the 11th 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 grown steadily the last 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 Friday, June 25 when hundreds of children are expected to take part in "An Afternoon of Fun" at the Presidio's Officers' Club. This free indoor and outdoor event runs from noon until 3 pm and offers kids and their families a chance to experience early California life through traditional Ohlone games and stories; music and dance from the Spanish era; and hands on activities.
"They can grind corn, make adobe bricks, create and paint pottery, pet a donkey and meet descendants of early California inhabitants, all within a beautiful park setting," says Lisa Hillstrom, who organizes the event each year for the Presidio Trust. "It's really about kids connecting with the park, creating a day for them that is fun and sparks their curiosity about the Presidio's past so they'll want to return with their friends and family and learn more."
Friday night's Evening Fandango, a concert by the renowned Coro de Hispano de San Francisco directed by Juan Pedro Gaffney R., will celebrate the songs and dances of early California. This year's guest artist is the dance ensemble Los LupeÃ±os de San José, directed by Tony Ferrigno. These lively concerts have proven so popular in the past, a second show will be held Saturday night. Both concerts begin at 7 pm at the Officers' Club. A free PresidiGo Shuttle will run until 9 pm to connect concert-goers with MUNI lines 43 and 45.
The weekend culminates Sunday 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 administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The areas overseen by the Trust include expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. The National Park Service oversees the coastal areas of the Presidio. The park comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to the Presidio's status as a National Historic Landmark District."