What: 3rd Annual San Ysidro Festival
When: Saturday, May 14, 2016, 9:00am-11:30am
Where: Mission Garden
929 W. Mission Lane
Tucson, AZ 85745
Mission Garden’s San Ysidro Festival is a time-honored example of the multicultural food festivals and traditions that played into Tucson being designated the first UNESCO World City of Gastronomy in the United States. In fact, Mission Garden is a key feature in Tucson’s attaining this honor. Located on one of the oldest continually farmed landscapes in North America, Mission Garden is demonstrating the 4,000 years of agricultural history in the Tucson Basin.
Blending indigenous and Old World food traditions, the San Ysidro Farmers’ festival revolves around harvesting winter wheat and celebrating the harvest by sharing Pozole de Trigo, the typical stew made during San Ysidro that incorporates wheat and seasonal vegetables and wild greens.
The 2016 Dia de San Ysidro Labrador –Traditional Tucson Farmer’s Festival program includes:
• Procession from future Tucson Origins Heritage Park to Mission Garden
• Music by Mariachi Milagro and Alabanza by Bobby Benton
• Presentation on water saints and acequias by M. Brescia, PhD
• Native American Four-Directions Blessing
• Participatory Wheat Harvest, Threshing and Winnowing
• Blessing of Fields, Food and Animals
• Desert Indian Dancers from San Xavier
• Tasting of Pozole de Trigo for all
Admission is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $5 per person requested.
The San Ysidro Festival at Mission Garden is a revival of an old Tucson tradition that dates back to the early days of Spanish settlement in the region. It was celebrated throughout the farm fields that dotted the landscape on Tucson’s west side all along the Santa Cruz River. Many Tucsonenses still cherish memories of the festival and the accompanying Pozole de trigo. The multicultural nature of the festivities can be appreciated in an article from the Arizona Weekly Citizen that ran on May 19, 1894:
All honor was shown today to San Ysidro Labrador…San Ysidro is the rural saint, the patron of the fields and crops. The image was carried today about the fields below town, with a gay procession following…At every house refreshments are on hand, and are served. A feature is usually an olla of teswin, a light wine made of corn. No other intoxicants are permitted…The first of the crop of each field was promised to the patron saint. The Chinese gardeners have come to have due regard for this annual festival, and were among the heavy contributors, some of them giving money.
Tucson residents and visitors alike are invite to come join the festivities this year and participate in this traditional celebration of fields and farmers.