Adobe celebrates old-style Christmas

VISTA — It’s Christmas time at the Rancho Guajome Adobe, one of Vista’s oldest houses, and that means a season kick-off featuring the vintage entertainments the owners and workers of the hacienda might have enjoyed a century and a half ago. The two-day Rancho Christmas event brought more than 2,000 attendees to the adobe Nov. 29 and Nov. 30.
Rancho Guajome Adobe has never been a stranger to big parties. A product of the cattle boom of the 1850s, the 20-room house has hosted countless extravagant fiestas and rodeos. Once, these gatherings were held at the pleasure of the owners. Now they are the primary fundraising events for the county-operated adobe, providing funds for a host of restoration projects.
“The adobe walls need annual maintenance, but after so many years they get to a point where they need a little more wholesale restoration,” Adobe Manager Jake Enriques said.
Children and adults alike were entertained by a battery of attractions. A horse-drawn trailer ferried people around the adobe’s spacious grounds. Attendees dipped apples into caramel and candles into colored wax. They made their own corn husk dolls and reindeer puppets.
The adobe was kept free of all the trappings of modern living with the exception of the public announcement system. This was part of the draw, offering a window into the past as well as presenting suggestions for the future.
“What I really appreciate is all the floral arrangements that show how they use the resources they have,” Carmel Valley resident John Hamon said. “There’s so many beautiful wreaths that are made with the local stuff rather than something you would get at Michaels.”
Music was a big component of the event as well. Harpist Ben Jimenez plucked and sang Mexican tunes and a pair of organists played on the century-old keyboard inside the adobe. All of the performers respectfully put down their instruments when the brother and sister team Native Talk donned costumes and took the stage to tell the myths of the Luiseño people indigenous to Southern California.
“They are a treasure,” docent Jerry Coling said. “To think that they have preserved all those stories from their ancestors in this area. It’s a real joy.”
The adobe’s Mexican heritage was on display with dance performances from two groups: Vista’s Tierra Caliente Ballet Folklórico, and newcomers from San Marcos, Grupo Pitao Cosobi. In the mid-afternoon, candy fell like rain after children savaged a piñata until it gave up its treasures.
The climax of Saturday’s festivities was the sunset lighting of luminaria as attendees sang traditional carols. This is always the most attended portion of the event. There were still plenty of event-goers the following morning, however.
The Rancho Guajome Adobe, located at 2210 N. Santa Fe Avenue in Vista, is open year-round. Call (760) 724-4082 to learn more.

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