Hacienda Hosts May 5th Fundraiser


Isabel Owens, Lifestyle Editor

Moraga’s 7th annual Cinco de Mayo festival, presented by the Hacienda Foundation and sponsored primarily by the Lamorinda Montessori School, was held at the Hacienda de las Flores on May 3 as a fundraiser for the park.

“They [Hacienda Foundation] provide, enhance, and rehabilitate the Hacienda de las Flores,” said board member Brandy Ford. “We put on about 4 community events throughout the year. The town owns the building, but the Hacienda Foundation is the one who puts on the show and gets the volunteers and puts together everything.”

“We have board meetings once a month and sometimes special board meetings if we have big things going on. We get together and one of us usually takes a task and we get the jumps and pinatas and tickets and all the stuff,” Ford added.

Lamorinda Montessori, Loard’s Ice Cream, Lamorinda Weekly, HL Financial, and Chairs for Affairs sponsored the event, according to Ford.

Incentives for sponsorship included the opportunity to advertise. “They have the huge signs out there based on the amount of [sponsorship] and Loard’s is actually making money here. [The representative] has got her booth out there and she’s selling ice cream,” Ford said.

Friends of the Joaquin Moraga Adobe, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the Moraga Adobe, was asked to set up a booth for their 4th year. “It was sort of through our connections through Dave Trotter and the city council and the Moraga Historical Society. They knew about this event and contacted people and they contacted us to see if we wanted to participate,” said Teresa Long, who represented the organization at the event.

“24 of my ancestors came to California by 1781, so I put a storyboard up here that explains the story of the Moraga family in California because they’re kind of an overlooked yet really important military family,” said Lance Beeson, another member of the Adobe foundation.

Beeson’s Moragan ancestors have contributed in their time to “a lot of the exploration and naming of places.” He explained, “They had an adobe here in town. The adobe still exists. The organization here is trying to come up with enough money to fulfill a deal with the governor to take over possession of it, rehabilitate it, and open it up for limited public access.”

Beeson said that he was asked to set up his storyboard because “if you look around there’s not a lot that’s about heritage.”

Beeson added, “The problem with the Moraga Adobe is that it’s been in private hands for all these years. It’s never been a public facility, so many of the people who live in this community don’t even know where it is or that it exists. The point of this information is to tell people about it and we hope to get it more open to the public.”

According to Beeson, the organization raises money by “a combination of individual donations, fundraising activities, and upcoming on August 29th is the 2nd annual Fandango, which is a fundraising party where they do all the typical things. We go out and perform at events, teach people the old music of hispanic California, the old dancing styles, and culture. We dress in historically appropriate clothing.”

The Mariachi band Fiesta en Jalisco performed throughout the duration of the event. “I am the leader. I have been for 32 years,” said director Arturo Garcia about his coordination of the musical group.

The festival featured activities for children as well, one of the most popular being face painting. Freshman Lauren Rodriguez and Miramonte freshman Isabella Patten worked the booth. “I am bad at painting, so it’s been a learning adjustment, but I’ve been able to do it okay,” admitted Rodriquez.

This was Rodriguez’s first time attending the event. “It’s been fun. I like seeing all the cute kids. Some moms have been a little difficult but usually the kids are just happy with anything and they like it,” she said. “I get a lot of requests for butterflies and I also get things like hearts and a little boy wanted a spider.”

While Rodriguez volunteered for Spanish class extra credit, Patten volunteered through the National Charity League [NCL]. “There’s the Lamorinda area and also the Acalanes area so I’m part of the Acalanes area. We do a lot of charity work for less fortunate people and also events such as these just to help out with kids and food events. We also sometimes go to museums and get cultural knowledge,” she said.

“It’s been interesting because some kids have asked for very elaborate things. We’ve had a cat, and a unicorn, and penguins,” Patten said. “I actually probably would come back because I like Mexican food. I had two burritos. They were good.”

According to Ford, this year’s food setup at the event was different. “Usually it’s like a plate of food but this year it’s just a few burritos and things like that. Mostly all the stuff is returned from last year. We added a couple of flavors of margaritas,” she said.

“We’re helping kids make tortillas for Cinco de Mayo,” said 6th grader Cole Curtiss, who volunteered through the Boy Scouts. “We have a certain amount of [volunteer] hours we log in the back of our book. I didn’t know I was volunteering but my mom just put me in it.”

According to Curtiss, the tortilla-making process is an easy one. “You have to roll up the dough and you put plastic around it and you just smash it onto the wood and then you have to cook it,” he said.

“It’s a fun experience because we get to see kids make their own food. They learn more about Cinco de Mayo,” Curtiss added. “It is [rewarding] because we helped volunteer and stand up and helped kids have fun here.”

Sophomore Clare Ahearn helped Curtiss handle the tortilla booth. “Ms. Martinez asked all of her Spanish 2 classes to volunteer for extra credit. I think it helps your grade by 1 percent,” Ahearn said.

According to Ford, income from the event will go toward the restoration of the Hacienda. “They actually just put in a new lawn down at the pavilion so coming soon there’s going to be a lot of changes to the facility,” she said. “Right now there’s a proposal that just went to the town council. They’re actually looking to do some remodeling in making this more of a community center.”