Portuguese festa celebrates culture, faith
by Sam Matthews
Jun 20, 2014 | 2775 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pete Corallo, co-president of the IPFES with his wife Debbie, stands next to ceremonial crowns used for this weekend’s annual festa of the Portuguese society.  Sam Matthews/Tracy Press
Pete Corallo, co-president of the IPFES with his wife Debbie, stands next to ceremonial crowns used for this weekend’s annual festa of the Portuguese society. Sam Matthews/Tracy Press
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This weekend’s IPFES Holy Ghost “festa” marks the 90th anniversary of the annual two-day celebration sponsored by the Portuguese society of Tracy.

The “festa” — festival in Portuguese — was first held in 1924, when two smaller Portuguese organizations joined forces to form the IPFES, officially the Irmandade Portuguesa da Festa do Divino Espirito Santo de Tracy, said Pete Corallo, who is this year’s IPFES president with his wife, Debbie.

“The weather forecast is for moderate temperatures, and everything looks favorable for a successful festa,” he said. “We expect to have as many as 5,000 people take part over the two days.”

Activities begin Saturday with the presentation of queens — there are three levels of royalty this year — at 8 p.m. at the Portuguese Hall on West Ninth Street, followed by dancing to the music of Sem Duvida.

On Sunday, parade units form at 9 a.m. at the hall at 400 W. Ninth St., and the parade begins at 9:30 a.m. There will be three bands, from Tracy, Escalon and Newark, along with floats and delegations from Portuguese societies throughout Northern California.

At St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, a Mass will be said at 10:30 a.m. by the Rev. David Dutra of Stockton.

A traditional festa lunch of “sopas e carne” — boiled beef and broth topped by French bread — will be served in four sittings, beginning at 10 a.m. Some 7,000 pounds of beef will be prepared by Louis Mattos, head chef, and his crew.

The weekend festa activities conclude Sunday with a 2:30 p.m. live auction and a 7 p.m. sopas e carne dinner.

As part of the festa, bloodless bullfights are scheduled next Friday at the Campo Pequeno bullring behind the Portuguese Hall. Bullfights here tonight are part of the Stockton Portuguese celebration.

The “big queen” royalty for this year’s Tracy festa includes queen Amada Salvador, daughter of Frank and Nina Salvador, and maids Amanda Rickman, daughter of Kevin and Shanda Rickman, and Brianna Martins, daughter of Frank and Nancy Martins.

The “medium queen” is Ava Corallo, daughter of Pete and Debbie Corallo, flanked by maids Ashlyn Trovao, daughter of Richard and Karen Trovao, and Jaylee Pimentel, daughter of Jerod and Julianne Pimentel.

The smallest royalty are queen Evanna Corallo, daughter of Pete and Debbie Corallo, and maids Giada Rinaldo, daughter of Jimmie and Debbie Rinaldo, and Jessalyn Pimentel, daughter of Jerod and Julianne Pimentel.

The festa, held each year on Pentecost Sunday, is based on the legend that Queen Isabella, later St. Isabella, of Portugal, prayed for divine help for a major famine in the 13th century. Soon, ships miraculously arrived with grain to feed the masses.

Another part of the legend is that bread carried by Queen Isabella turned into roses after she was accused by her cold-hearted husband, King Diniz, of providing too much food to the poor.

• Contact Sam Matthews at shm@tracypress.com or 830-4234.

 
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