Portuguese American Journal

Community: San Joaquin Valley Portuguese Festival – Turlock, CA

The San Joaquin Valley Portuguese Festival takes place on April 22 and 23, organized by the Carlos Vieira Foundation, in Turlock, California’s Central Valley. 

In its fourth edition, its goal has been to reach more Portuguese American younger generations and communities, according to Elaina Vieira president of the Carlos Vieira Foundation.

The annual event, which celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the Portuguese community in the San Joaquin Valley, features live music, traditional Portuguese food and drink, dancing, and other cultural activities.

“We try to do something that appeals not only to the older generations, but also to the younger ones, and invite people who are not part of the community and can learn about our culture and the contributions of Portuguese immigrants in the central valley,” Elaina Vieira told Lusa news agency.

“We are excited to get closer to the Brazilian community because we want to invite everyone to be part of this festival,” said Elaina Vieira.

“We know that there are people from the Brazilian community around these parts and some have already come to our festival, but we hope that having a Brazilian artist will attract more Brazilians from the area,” she stated.

This year the festival is adding art exhibits, with a couple of Portuguese American artists from the San Francisco Bay Area who will be showing the influence of their heritage in the art they create. There will also be live entertainment with performances by DJ Bruno Furtado and Marcos Shalom, singer Luis Silva, comedian Vavo Brito, and Brazilian artist Alex Ferrari, along with comedy trio The Portuguese Kids and Portuguese singer Jorge Ferreira.

The founder of the San Joaquin Valley Portuguese Festival, Carlos Vieira, is the son of emigrated parents from the Azores who migrated to Brazil before settling permanently in California. The organization is promoting the event on the radio, social networks, and media with the intention of calling participants from various parts of California and even other states, as has happened in previous editions.

Admission is free on Saturday. On Sunday, April 23, the focus will be on the bloodless bullfight, admission to which costs $15. Proceeds benefit the “Race for Autism” charitable cause, with which the Carlos Vieira Foundation assists families with autistic children.

PAJ/Staff & Lusa

San Joaquin Valley is home to a large Portuguese community, which has a rich cultural heritage and a strong presence in the region’s history. Many Portuguese immigrants came to the San Joaquin Valley in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to work in the agricultural industry, and their descendants continue to maintain strong ties to their cultural roots.

The Holy Ghost Festival, commemorating the Holy Spirit, is a traditional Portuguese celebration that takes place in many towns throughout the San Joaquin Valley of California, including in Turlock. Traditionally the festival begins with a Mass, followed by a procession through the streets of the town. After the procession, there is usually a feast featuring traditional Portuguese dishes such as sopas, a meat and bread soup, and sweet bread. The sopas are typically served free to the participants symbolizing the charity of the Holy Spirit.

The Portuguese community in the San Joaquin Valley has made significant contributions to the region’s economy and culture. Many Portuguese Americans have played an important role in shaping the agricultural industry in the region.

The community has also produced notable figures in fields like politics, sports, and entertainment, including former U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, football player Tom Flores, and actor/comedian Carlos Vieira.

Dating back to the 19th century, Portuguese immigrants, the majority with roots in the Azores, formed the largest and one of the most vibrant Portuguese communities in the United States, with significant populations in cities like San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and the Central Valley. According to the US Census (2019), there are an estimated 342,551 people of Portuguese ancestry in California, and approximately 1.4 million people of Portuguese ancestry in the United States.


Follow Us

facebook twitter