The season’s first rainfall could not dampen the spirits of the many hundreds of souls who attended St. Anne’s Fiesta on Friday through Sunday, September 21-23, for the parish’s major fund-raiser of the year.
Fr. Mike Gutierrez, the pastor at St. Anne Church and Shrine, said that the Fiesta has been an annual celebration as well as a fund-raiser since 1951, and generations have enjoyed the event.
This year’s Fiesta featured food, games, rides, and music that certainly spanned that half-century. The line of food counters ran from hamburgers and hot dogs at one end to tacos de carne asada at the other end, with all manner of choices in between. Game booths presented challenges that would be recognized by several generations – throwing ping pong balls into goldfish bowls, throwing rings over the necks of Coke bottles, throwing baseballs at “milk bottles,” throwing darts at balloons…You get the idea.
On Saturday afternoon, the music of Mariachi Azteca (a group assembled from all over Southern California) filled the air, along with the squeals of children riding the Tilt-a-Whirl, Ferris wheel, and the over-the-top KamiKaze. Outside the Zombie tunnel ride (“for everyone from the unborn to the undead”) was a sign remembered with dread from childhood: “You must be this tall [arrow] to ride the Zombie alone.”
Fr. Mike said that a $75,000 goal had been set for the three-day event, and that even though there had been skirmishes with rain, the turnout had been strong. He added that the parish would continue to accept contributions after the Fiesta had closed at 8 p.m. Sunday evening.
That, of course, was also consistent with generations-old tradition.
What was not a generations-old practice was the amount of security (friendly, unobtrusive) checking out, among other things, anyone with a camera photographing children who were not his/her own.
Let us pray.