Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rancho Fiesta Day in El Toro

Okay, okay! You CAN go to Rancho Fiesta Day in El Toro this Sunday (May 1st) -- but ONLY if you promise not to enjoy the local history, barbeque, historic architectural tours, music, dancing, nature, Indian lore, interesting exhibits, friendly people, or fuzzy and feathered animals. (That's what they call reverse psychology!)

All of this will take place at Heritage Hill Historical Park, 25151 Serrano Rd., in El Toro (that's "Lake Forest" to the newbies), from 11am to 3pm. Details are posted online.

Today's photos all come from last year's Rancho Fiesta Day. In addition to the Serrano Adobe (ca 1863) and some beautiful landscaping, the park includes most of the historic buildings that were saved when the old town of El Toro was bulldozed, including the one-room schoolhouse (1890), a country church (1891), and a craftsman ranch house (1908). All have been restored and will be open to the public. There is also a replica of part of an Indian village on the site. I don't know if they'll have "make your own adobe" again this year (for those who really want to get hands-on with architecture).

In addition to the farm animal petting zoo area, last year's event also featured an educational exhibit of raptors found locally -- owls, hawks, etc. -- that was truly magnificent. You don't often get to see live wild birds like these from just inches away. (See the second photo from the top, with Archivist Susan looking a bit nervous next to a hawk.) I hope they do this again. Yes, I know that ethnically I'm supposed to like lutefisk and Lawrence Welk -- and there's nothing wrong with those things. (Okay,... maybe a little something wrong.) But this gabacho loves the Californio-style barbecue and mariachi music. And if last year was any sample, Rancho Fiesta Day has plenty of that. And lots of folklorico-type dancing and historical reinactors too.

In the photo below, Jacque Nunez of the Acjachemen tribe tells one of her people's traditional stories in front of the Serrano Adobe.

I'm sorry I didn't get a photo of the singer with the band shown below in front of the Bennett Ranch House. He was on horseback. Singing on horseback. Maybe that's normal somewhere, but not in Orange County. I particularly liked that he ended his set with "I Did It My Way." No joke!

Anyway, this is just a sampling of some of what went on last year. There was a lot more, from crafts to blacksmithing demonstrations. I hope to see you at THIS year's Rancho Fiesta Day. Be sure to stop by the Saddleback Valley Historical Society's museum, and also the booths for the Orange County Archives and the Orange County Historical Society.

1 comment:

Connie Moreno said...

Wow, that sounds awesome! I've only been there once before and my camera went crazy. (It's easier to blame it on the camera, you see...) I hope I can make it.

"Yes, I know that ethnically I'm supposed to like..." OMG, I laughed so hard that I almost spit out my coffee!