Fiesta has a long history at Mission San Miguel. Although the mission was founded in July of 1797, the date of Fiesta was set to honor St. Michael Archangel (San Miguel Arcangel) the namesake patron of the mission.  His feast day (day of celebration) is September 29 which is the date of this
year’s celebration.

There was undoubtedly a Fiesta celebrated in the early days. We have no records of the time of secularization when it was out of the hands of the church (Mission San Miguel was secularized in 1934).  

The missions were returned to the Catholic Church circa 1865 and later back to the Franciscans. The first Franciscan priest to return to San Miguel, Fr. Angelus, kept a diary of his year at the Mission.

On September 30 he wrote “Bro. Michael helped guide tourists on Fiesta.” From then on, it has been traditionally celebrated. I remember from the late 1940s the whole town, Catholic or not, would take part in Fiesta.  

Some of the old-time family names come to memory:  Adams, Aguilar, Awalt, Bonnifield, Brown, Dunnean, Camsuzou, Chames, Craspay, Fryer, Kiening, Machado, Martin, Martinez, Morones,  Murrel Sanchez, Silva.  

For many years the Lions Club did the barbecue. Beans were cooked by the Crettol family in a huge old iron rendering pot, decorated in bas relief. It still sits next to the barbecue pit although no longer in use. 

Over the years newer names are recalled: Arbogast, Applegate, Brucker, Byrnes, Delwiche, Campomenosi, Conty, Copley,  DesFosses, Elston, Errotebere, Gannon, Giovando, Keating, Kuntze, Kwiatkwski, Lahargou, Johansing, Jongling, Mora, Payeur, Pahler, Phillips, Sanders, Schmitz, Upton, Velarde, Vicente, Velasquez.  Just a few names of so many wonderful volunteers over many, many years. 

This year’s committee, headed by Ampelio Rangel is planning another great day. Fiesta Sunday masses will be at 7 a.m. in English, 9 a.m. in Spanish with Mariachi and at noon bilingual. Starting at 8 a.m., breakfast burritos and coffee will be available. Festivities begin at noon with the barbeque (choice of beef or chicken) and a variety of Mexican foods. Desserts and beverages sold separately. Live music and dancing, a raffle with great prizes, games for children and silent auction. Join in the fun on Sunday, September 29 at Mission San Miguel Fiesta. Bienvenidos!