VISTA — The sights and sounds at the Rancho Guajome Adobe Park took hundreds of visitors back more than 150 years to celebrate Christmas Southwestern style Nov. 27 and Nov. 28.
It was the rancho’s 14th annual Christmas celebration, the historic adobe’s most popular event, according to organizers. Built in 1852, the 28-room hacienda was once the social and cultural center of North County. It is now owned by the San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation.
The event provided visitors with a taste of Christmas past. “This is a great opportunity for families to begin the holiday season without the crowded shopping malls,” said Cynthia Flores, an Oceanside resident. “The history lets the kids know there is more to the holidays than buying stuff.”
The event featured kid-friendly crafts, such as making cornhusk dolls, caramel apples and homemade candles. Families also hitched rides aboard a tractor-drawn wagon and viewed demonstrations of blacksmithing and wool spinning.
“This is really delightful,” said Fallbrook resident Charlene Buddle. “The adobe really comes to life with all the wreaths, decorations and the music in the background.” More than 100 wreaths, garlands and centerpieces made out of natural materials adorned the restored historic adobe.
Activity was found in every corner of the adobe and the grounds that surround it. Once considered a small city in itself, the adobe built in 1853 by Cave Johnson Couts grew from a single hacienda to include a school, chapel, store and inner courtyard for entertaining.
A single mariachi played tunes that resonated through the Victorian Garden, where visitors took breaks from self-guided tours of the adobe’s rustic buildings to enjoy authentic Mexican food.
Throughout the day ballet folklorico dancers in traditional Mexican full skirts took over the small stage in the garden for whirling, toe-tapping performances.
Led by Eva Diaz, the Las Golondrinas delighted visitors with traditional equestrian ballet performances. The all-female drill team is the only one of its kind in San Diego County that continues the rich tradition of sidesaddle riding wearing colorful dresses and traditional charro hats.
The Floriadores consisted of trick ropers Jesus Flores and Martin Delatorre. “It’s spectacular to see how good they are at such a young age,” said John Kerns. “I think it’s great that they are carrying on a cultural tradition and sharing it with others.”
The event closed at sunset with caroling and a ceremonial lighting of the adobe’s Christmas tree in the glow of luminaries set throughout the courtyard.