San Diego, CA – Naval Base Point Loma opened its gates to the public for the celebration of the 50th Annual Cabrillo Festival. Coordinated by Cabrillo Festival Inc., which includes Portuguese-American Social and Civic Club, Cabrillo Club # 16, Cabrillo Festival Ensenada, the Casa de España en San Diego, the Cabrillo National Park, and Naval Base Point Loma, this Cabrillo Festival marked the 471th anniversary of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landing in San Diego. He was the first European to set foot upon what is now the West Coast of the United States.
Cabrillo, who was Portuguese but sailing for Spain, was looking for a trade route to Asia and the Spice Islands. In June 1542, his crew set sail from Mexico. On September 28, 1542, Cabrillo spotted what is now called Ballast Point and claimed more than 800 miles of coastline land for the King of Spain.
The Cabrillo Festival was a fun event for the entire family, with educational activities, cultural demonstrations and exciting folkloric performances. The Open House, where “cultures come together and history comes alive,” featured colorful displays of dancing, storytelling and music from Mexico, Native America (Kumeyaay), Portugal and Spain. The event also featured Mexican, Portuguese and Spanish food; Kumeyaay weapons and tools display; a living history encampment, where historic re-enactors demonstrated the arms, armor, implements and daily life of 16th century Spanish soldiers and explorers.
The highlight of the Cabrillo Festival was the re-enactment of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landing on the shores of San Diego Bay. “Cabrillo,” his soldiers and a priest sailed into the bay on San Salvador (actually used the tall ship Californian), fired a cannon, and then launched a small boat (the Chalupa) to land on the beach where “Cabrillo” once again claimed the land for Spain.
Over 400 people from the Point Loma community attended the event. The Portuguese Government was represented by Consul General Nuno Matias and Naval Captain Carlos Lopes da Costa, Defense and Naval Attache, along with other Portuguese officials. The Spanish Government was represented by Honorary Consul María Angeles O’Donnell de Olson and Jesus Benias President, Casa de España en San Diego. The Mexican Government was represented by Mr. Nico Saad President Emeritas Cabrillo Festival Ensenada. Representing the U.S. was Captain Scott Adams, Commanding Officer Naval Base Point Loma, and Tom Workman, Superintendent of Cabrillo National Park.