A historic mission in San Diego – the first-ever of its kind built in California – will host a festival this weekend highlighting its Spanish and Native American roots as the landmark turns 250 years old.
Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, founded in 1769, is currently celebrating its "jubilee year." Last month, as the mission turned 250, the public was invited to a special prayer service at the historic site.
The anniversary celebrations and ceremonies will continue at the mission throughout 2019 including this weekend when the landmark hosts a three-day community event called "Heritage Weekend."
According to organizers, the event – which begins Friday and runs through Sunday – will highlight the Spanish and Native American traditions that have shaped the history of Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala.
Heritage Weekend kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Friday with "Holy Hour," a ceremony led by Deacon Andrew Orosco from the Kumeyaay Community.
On Saturday, the mission will host a free festival from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. that includes interactive crafts, food, music and exhibits A Kumeyaay procession will signal the start of the day, followed by 10 a.m. activities, and the painting of a mural at 1:30 p.m. Spanish stew will be served for lunch at 12:30 p.m.
On Sunday, the festivities continue with a 12 p.m. trilingual mass – English, Spanish, and Kumeyaay – followed by a 1 p.m. lunch of paella and performances by a Spanish guitarist and flamenco artists.
Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala, located at 10818 San Diego Mission Rd., is the first of the 21 great California Missions.
According to the mission’s website, the site is known as "the birthplace of Christianity in the west coast of the United States" and also recognized by many as the "birthplace of San Diego."
Today, it serves as an active parish church for people of all faiths.
Mass is held daily at the historic site, at 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays, and at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. On Sundays, ceremonies – many featuring congregational singing – are held on the hour from 7 a.m. to noon, and again at 5:30 p.m. There is a mass in Spanish at 11 a.m. Sundays.
If you’re a history buff, the mission features a visitor’s center rich with information, as well as a gift shop, open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
In addition to Heritage Weekend, the mission’s 250th anniversary will also feature the Festival of the Bells in July, Taste of the Mission in September and a “Farewell Toast to Jubilee Year” on Dec. 31. See the full list of anniversary events here.