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Oakdale Festa Espirito Santos Parade Slated Sunday
Three Valley Home girls, Meghan, Maddie and Mickala Jones are pictured here at Our Lady of Fatima Society, Riverbank festa parade. At front are banner carriers Meghan, foreground, and Maddie, behind. From back left are sidemaid Yasmin Avina, queen Meghan Mills, and sidemaid Mickala. - photo by PHOTO COURTESY OF LISA JONES
It’s festa time.
The Oakdale Festa Espirito Santos (FES) parade will start at 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 24 as participants will march from the Oakdale FES Hall to St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Festas preserve the Azorean culture and religious traditions.
Mickala, Maddie and Meghan Jones, daughters of Lisa and Jason Jones of Valley Home, have been marching in some of the local area Portuguese festa parades representing Our Lady of Fatima Society, Riverbank.
The family accepted the invitation to participate knowing that it would be a great experience and way to learn more about their culture and represent their church, said Lisa Jones. She added that after much preparation, dress fittings, and discussions, her daughters were ready to march in the parades.
“My girls are learning about their heritage. They love it… It’s super fun, they look forward to it,” she said. “It’s a wonderful experience.”
Jones reported that before each parade, they wake up early and the girls get their hair done, then take a ride in the car and change into their elaborate dresses at the event.
The Jones girls hold the titles of side maid and banner carriers. Mickala, 8, is the side maid and part of her job is to help the queen with her cape. Younger sisters Maddie, 6, and Meghan, 5, are the banner carriers.
Meghan Mills of Ripon is the Our Lady of Fatima, Riverbank’s Festa Queen. She’s the granddaughter of Avelino and Rose Da Silva, formerly of Escalon, who are parishioners at St. Frances of Rome in Riverbank. Yasmin Avina of Lodi serves as the other side maid.
The festa queens symbolize 13th century Portuguese monarch Queen Isabel who fed the poor.
The Jones girls’ first parade was held June 26 at their church, St. Frances of Rome in Riverbank. Then they were in the Manteca FESM parade July 10 and the Gustine GPS parade July 17. They will also be in the Oakdale FES parade on July 24.
Jones noted that former Escalon resident Darleen Da Silva Kindred made the dresses with hoop skirts and the banners for the girls. Kindred’s sister Janice Da Silva Mills made all the capelets and queen’s cape.
Jones extended an invitation to their neighbors in Valley Home and friends and family in Oakdale to go out and watch the girls and many others in the Oakdale FES Parade on Sunday and look for the Our Lady of Fatima Society, Riverbank banners.