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De Anza Expedition Re-enactment Set At San Gabriel Mission on March 19

Juan Bautista de Anza expedition arrival in the 1700s at San Gabriel Mission will be re-enacted on Saturday, March 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a Living History Camp.

Authentic living historians from the 1774-1776s, Soldados Californios (Spanish ‘leatherjacket’ soldiers) and other people will be re-enacting the de Anza party’s arrival at San Gabriel Mission on its way to found San Francisco. Scheduled is reproduced artifacts, period music, dancing by “Yesteryears Dancers,” activities for children; historic camps, demonstrations; and more.

In 1776, Americans fought for their independence in the East, and Daniel Boone led several families into the wilderness to colonize Kentucky.  The same year, Juan Bautista de Anza led almost 300 people over 1,200 miles to settle Alta California.  It was the first overland route established to connect New Spain with San Francisco, announced Steve Clugston, a founding member of Soldados Californios.

“On January 4, 1776, the expedition reached San Gabriel Mission, its first outpost of the Spanish empire in (Alta) California,” said Clugston.  “Colonel Anza had visited the mission at its first site on his March 1774 trip, and the current site on his colonizing expedition. He remained there January 4-6, 1776.”

From the Anza diary; “I ate at the mission of San Gabriel. After going a league we passed the site of the old mission, where the huts were still standing. At three leagues one crosses Inflatable Water Slide the San Gabriel River, which here carries plentiful water and runs almost straight west to the sea. Afterward follow the hills, and in one of their canyons there is a little well. . . The mission of San Gabriel they called San Gabriel de los Temblores because the earth trembled on the day when they arrived at that site.”

The event is free as it will be in Plaza Park next to the mission and also on the large front walkway in front of the churches and gardens. Regular admission fee applies if visitors would like to visit the mission museum and gardens. Admission fee is $3 for age six to 17, $5 for age 18-61, $4 for seniors age 62 and older, and age five and younger is free.

San Gabriel Mission History Day is to inform people about mission history: people, cultures, events, buildings, artwork, artifacts, plant life and more. Contests are also planned for some months.

Thousands of fourth-grade students study about early mission history as part of the fourth-grade curriculum in schools in California.

Persons age 17 and younger must be with a parent or guardian age 18 or older.

Free self-parking is available on a first-come basis in the church lot at the intersection of Mission Road and Junipero Serra Drive or on nearby streets. The address is 427 S. Junipero Serra Dr., San Gabriel, CA 91776, and the telephone number is 626-457-3048. San Gabriel Mission was founded on Sept. 8, 1771 and is the fourth oldest of 21 missions in California.

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