Portuguese festival returns with parade, bullfighting
by Sam Matthews
May 31, 2013 | 5733 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jennifer Torres (center) is this year’s IPFES Holy Ghost festa queen. Her maids are Christian Junqueiro (left) and Natalie Torres. Courtesy photo
Jennifer Torres (center) is this year’s IPFES Holy Ghost festa queen. Her maids are Christian Junqueiro (left) and Natalie Torres. Courtesy photo
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Little queen for this year’s IPFES Holy Ghost festa is Bailey Gualco (center). Her maids are Audrey Arnaudo (left) and Allison Rickman.  Courtesy photo
Little queen for this year’s IPFES Holy Ghost festa is Bailey Gualco (center). Her maids are Audrey Arnaudo (left) and Allison Rickman. Courtesy photo
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The coming weekend will be a busy one for volunteers active in the IPFES, Tracy’s Portuguese society.

They will be making things tick during the annual IPFES Festa do Divino Espirito Santo de Tracy, which is scheduled Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2, at the organization’s twin halls at 340 W. Ninth St.

“We couldn’t host this gathering of people from all over Northern California without volunteers donating so much and doing the work for the festa,” said Bobby Costa, who with his wife, Robin, is heading up the IPFES as presidents this year.

The Costas are being assisted by vice presidents Pete and Debbie Corallo, who will be in charge of next year’s gathering of Portuguese families, who mostly trace their ancestry to the Azores Islands.

This year’s festa — festival in Portuguese — kicks off at 8 p.m. Saturday with the presentation of queens, large and small, and their side maids. Dancing follows to the music of Marquis Entertainment of Stockton.

Sunday holds a full day of festa activities. Units of the traditional parade begin forming at the IPFES grounds at 9 a.m. The parade, which includes three bands, including Tracy’s Portuguese Band, will head north on Central Avenue and Holly Drive and west on Eaton Avenue to St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, 163 W. Eaton Ave. A Mass in Portuguese celebrated by the Rev. Thomas Sequeira is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

Following the Mass, parade units will return to the IPFES grounds for a “sopas e carne” lunch and live auction.

Sunday evening, a dinner of sopas e carne at 7 p.m. will be followed by dancing to the music of Sem Duvida of the Bay Area.

Costa expects about 4,000 people to take part in the weekend events, and 7,000 pounds of beef will be used for the meals prepared by Louie Matos and crew.

Sopas, the traditional festa meal, is boiled beef, broth and bread.

Festa activities conclude at 8 p.m. Friday, June 7, with traditional bloodless bullfights in the Campo Pequeno bullring on the IPFES grounds.

Two horsemen and a matador will face bulls. Teams of youthful, fearless forcados — bullgrabbers — will come from Turlock and Merced to attempt to wrestle young bulls to the ground.

Jennifer Torres is queen of this year’s festa. Her maids are Christina Junqueiro, daughter of Jon and Rosa Junqueiro, and Natalie Torres, daughter of Jose and Elizabeth Torres.

Bailey Gualco, daughter of Danny and Grace Gualco, will reign as little queen. Her side maids are Audrey Arnaudo, daughter of Garrett and Sue Arnaudo, and Allison Rickman, daughter of Robert and Karen Rickman.



Tracing history

A principal basis for the annual Holy Ghost festa stems from the persona of St. Isabel, a 14th-century queen of Portugal who devoted her life to the poor.

In addition to establishing orphanages and shelter for the homeless, she gave food to the poor. Her husband, King Dinis, however, opposed feeding the poor.

One day, Dinis noticed his wife carrying something under her apron and suspected she was carrying food. She responded that she was carrying roses. When Dinis removed the apron, loaves of bread had turned into roses.

A chapel dedicated to St. Isabel and the miracle of the roses is located next to the castle in Estremoz, the Portuguese town on the Alentejo plain where the saintly queen had lived a number of years before dying in 1336.

• Contact Sam Matthews at 830-4234 or shm@tracypress.com.
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