Parish Fiesta

Fiesta de las Sierras Queen & her Court_0002The “Fiesta de las Sierras” has a rich and long history at St. Elizabeth Parish. The first one took place in October 1933. Though it was held in the midst of the “Depression” and closely followed the disastrous 6.4 magnitude “Long Beach earthquake” that shook the Southland, it was an amazing success that foreshadowed the enormous scale of such future events. The 1933 fiesta extended through four nights of entertainment and games; with a boxing match on Friday that drew the crowd. A large tent was rented against the chill of the mid-October evenings and a wooden platform built for “dancing under the stars.” A lot of work was put into this first fiesta by the community, so much so, that it realized a net profit of $4,703.42 ($85,516.73 in 2014 U.S. Dollars!)

But, perhaps one of the most elaborate and greatest fiestas of the era was that of 1936. Elected “La Reina de la Fiesta” was the beautiful Helen (Elena) Watson (pictured above). Helen was the great, great, granddaughter of one of the original “California Dons” – old Don Manuel Dominguez. Don Manuel received a “Spanish Land Grant” and settled on the oil-rich land between Los Angeles and Wilmington. The Fiesta de las Sierras of 1936 was a four day extravaganza that included (among many other things) a performance by a Boys Vested Choir; the attendance of celebrities of stage and screen; a Grand “Open Air” Ball; raffle prices that included two automobiles and a a diamond ring; a Puppet Show; folkloric dancers; a stage performance of “The Lost Utopia”  (a play about of the dark days of Governor Pio Pico); and, a vast assortment of Mexican, American and Irish food, all of which was sold and consumed. By Sunday, the exhausted parishioners had managed to raise $10,000.00 ($169,491.53 in 2014 U.S. Dollars). An incredible feat in those dark days of the Great Depression!

St. Elizabeth Parish Fiesta in 1968

The St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish Fiesta or “Fiesta de las Sierras” continues to be, to this day, a wonderful community building event for our entire parish family. It is a great opportunity for our culturally and ethnically diverse faith community to come together in friendship, fun and fellowship. It provides a wholesome family environment that is also inviting and open to the wider Altadena/Pasadena community. And, without a doubt, it also continues to be the major fundraising event for our Parish.

And, even more images from our 2014 Parish Fiesta!
Click on the image to see them in a larger size...