“We tried to cover the different aspects of Portuguese culture this weekend,” Elaina Vieira, executive director of the Carlos Vieira Foundation, which organises the event, told Lusa. “People are excited to have celebrations and to get together with the Portuguese community again,” she added.
The festival will open with a “Portuguese Parade” and will continue with performances by various philharmonic bands and folk groups. There will be a rope bullfight on Saturday and a bloodless bullfight on Sunday, events that in previous editions were very popular with the audience.
The entertainment program also includes performances by comedians Taylor Amarante and Vavo Brito, fado singer Marisa Silva Rocha and popular singers Anthony Morais, Luízinho, David DeMelo, Emily and Alcides Machado.
This will be the third edition of the festival that celebrates Portuguese-American culture in the central valley of California, where there is a large concentration of people of Portuguese origin, and will have free admission on Saturday, to attract as many visitors as possible.
“There are many young people who are not so involved in the Portuguese community and are not interested in going to the Festas, and they may not even know what this festival is, but they will go because entry is free”, explained Elaina Vieira. "We want to encourage these people to come, give them the opportunity to discover more and get involved."
The organisation anticipates that the event will attract 10,000 visitors throughout the weekend, with about 7,000 on Saturday and 3,000 on Sunday, when entry to the bloodless bullfight will cost $15. “We hope it will be a return to normalcy. It looks like we're going to have a good level of participation,” said the official.
With 50 to 60 exhibiting companies, ranging from Ginja9 and PortuCali to Avila Imports and Azorean Brothers, the festival will also have a tasting of Portuguese wines and cheeses.
“One of the great goals of the celebration is to appeal to all audiences,” said Elaina Vieira. “We want to invite the elders of the community to come and enjoy the culture and the Portuguese of the central valley, but we also want to rekindle that feeling in the younger generations”, she explained.
There will also be a cultural exhibition, with the participation of the Portuguese Historic Museum of São José, which celebrates 25 years, the Portuguese Historic Center of San Diego and some special exhibitions.