Monterey History and Art Association to Hold 81st Annual La Merienda Celebration on Saturday June 2, 2012 to Celebrate Monterey’s 242nd Birthday.
April 23, 2012, Monterey, CA. Viva La Merienda and Step Back in Time! The Monterey History & Art Association will again hold its popular historic annual La Merienda celebration on Saturday, June 2, 2012, from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, to celebrate the City of Monterey’s 242nd Birthday. La Merienda is held at the Memory Garden in the patio of the Old Pacific House, a State Historic Monument, 20 Custom House Plaza in downtown Monterey, CA 93940. For more information about La Merienda, call Eric Sand at (831) 372-7788 or Annamarie Stanton at (831) 241-2484. For more information about Monterey History and Art Association and the Museum of Monterey, go to www.montereyhistory.org.
The community is encouraged to attend this outstanding event that attracts over 500 people, but due to limited space, tickets should be purchased by May19th. Tickets are $55 for Monterey History and Art Association members and $75 for non-members. The non-member price includes a one-year membership to the Monterey History and Art Association and the Museum of Monterey (new members only). Tickets are now available at the Monterey History and Art Association’
La Merienda, Monterey’s birthday party, is a colorful fiesta of delicious foods, red wine, gallant dons, lovely senoritas, lively music and festive dance. La Merienda (the Spanish term for afternoon picnic or mid-day meal) re-enacts an elegant 18th century fiesta. It celebrates the founding of the town of Monterey on June 3, 1770 when Padre Junípero Serra, father of the California missions, and Captain Gaspar de Portola, a Spanish military leader, joined forces to establish the pueblo of Monterey, California’s first Capital. Their meeting also honored the founding of the “Royal Presidio Chapel”, which today is known as San Carlos Cathedral. After the ceremonies that day, everyone sat down for a picnic under a large oak tree near their ship, the San Antonio, which rested in the harbor. The first modern Merienda was celebrated in 1929, two years before the formation of the Monterey History and Art Association. A ceremony at Colton Hall and a small luncheon at the Memory Garden marked the occasion. It was presided over by Carmel Martin and Harry Greene. The next year, 350 people joined Carmel Martin, who again acted as Master of Ceremonies, in the Memory Garden and once again celebrated Monterey’s birthday. The Monterey History and Art Association has celebrated this important early California historic event every year since the Association was established in 1931.
Each year since La Merienda was founded, a local young woman with historic connections to Monterey is chosen as La Favorita, and with her lovely court, reigns over this unique celebration of Monterey’s history. Two other young women are selected to serve as her attendants (“Doncellas”)
The event includes a delicious barbecue and lively entertainment, as well as a huge 75-pound birthday cake beautifully decorated with fresh roses. The cake is carried in by local young men (“cake-bearers”)
The recipient of Monterey History and Art Association’
Following the barbecue and cake-cutting, entertainment is provided by the always-popular Mike Marotta Jr. Band (with a few special guests).
The colorful celebration is held in the Memory Gardens, located near the Custom House Plaza in historic downtown Monterey behind the Portola Plaza Hotel. Festivities begin at 11:00 A. M. with entertainment and dancing by Juventud Latina Genesis in the adjacent Sensory Gardens. At 11:15, the doors open to Memory Gardens where the aromas of the delicious barbeque greet the guests. Day-long entertainment includes music by Mariachis and a procession of local and international dignitaries and costumed ladies and gentlemen, reenacting an old tradition. The gaily-decorated tables are hosted by more than 50 MHAA volunteers, who provide hospitality to the guests. After the steak, chicken and bean barbeque (served by another 25 well-known local volunteers) the traditional Merienda birthday cake is paraded around the Garden and then cut and served with much ceremony. This year Hunter Finnell will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
New this year is a fun Raffle/Live Auction with Great Prizes, including gift certificates from the Sardine Factory, Agnie’s Boutique, Colton Inn, Portola Hotel & Spa, Dove-Chocolate-
Also new this year is the Para Los Ninos program where children between ages 5 - 12 will enjoy their own special La Merienda celebration with music and games.
La Merienda sponsorships, donations and other services help to defray the cost of this unique not-to-be-missed Monterey celebration. All proceeds above the cost of the Merienda itself go to Monterey History and Art Association’
For more information about La Merienda, call Eric Sand at (831) 372-7788 or Annamarie Stanton at (831) 241-2484. For more information about Monterey History and Art Association and the Museum of Monterey, go to www.montereyhistory.org.