Portuguese Festa is back!

Portuguese Festa is back!

Portuguese Festa is back!

Queen Isabel would be proud. So would Saint Anthony, the patron saint of Portugal. On Sunday, May 22, Alyse Blanchard and Izzah Foley represented them in the 86th annual Portuguese Festa parade.

The I.D.E.S. Society of Lovelock organizes the celebration, one of the oldest religious and cultural ceremonies still observed by the public. It came to Lovelock straight from the Azores, an archipelago of nine islands off the coast of Portugal. 

In the late 1890s, Manuel and Maria Moreira emigrated from the Azores to America, a sea journey of over 5,000 miles. In 1937, they threw Lovelock’s first Festa. 

For many in Lovelock, the last few years have felt like a 5,000 mile sea voyage. Festa 2019 saw heavy rainfall. Nobody knew it would be two years before Father Kuriakose Mambrakett would celebrate the Festa Mass again. This year he had help from altar servers Pati and Ezequiel Carapia.

What is a queen without attendants, cape bearers and a guard of honor? Savannah Foley and Anna Edge attended the queen. Lily Anderson-Burt and Sugeily Valtierra bore her cape. The guard of honor included Landen Anderson-Burt, Kellan Moura and Gregorio Portillo.

Besides the senior queen, there is a junior queen. Mili Gonzalez filled the role this year, attended by Fatima Gonzalez and Mary Edge. Izabellah Foley and Abby Burt bore the junior queen’s cape.

Meanwhile, Eli West and Blake Jensen looked after Saint Anthony. 

What is a parade without flags and banners? Devin Moura, Kyle Blanchard and Wyatt Moura led the procession, carrying the American and Portuguese flags. They also carried the I.D.E.S. Banner. 

The Festa commemorates the end of a famine in 13th century Portugal. Queen Isabel gave her crown to the Church in gratitude for answered prayers. People rejoiced in the streets for days.

Tom and Darlene Moura have kept the tradition alive. But they couldn’t do it alone. The town of Lovelock fully embraces Festa, remarkable because there are few people of Portuguese ancestry left in Pershing county. Out-of-towners also gravitate toward the event. Everybody loves a Festa.