In the early days men led the procession as Mrs. Brown’s Crown was carried to the church and blessed by the priest. Afterward the festivities continued at Mrs. Brown’s home where the revered Crown was on display. In the afternoon a free delicious barbecue was enjoyed by all–followed by the Chamarita dance.
But two decades later, in 1893, the once simple affair had mushroomed into an event comparable to a Fourth of July celebration. Wearing a tiara, Miss Mary Freitas, that year’s festival queen, carried the Crown to the church. She headed up a torchlight procession, now 300 strong, marching from Mrs. Brown’s resident, just outside Half Moon Bay to the old Catholic Church in the center of town.
Miss Freitas represented Queen Isabel, and at her side stood several maids of honor, or “side queens,” all attired in wedding dress white and capes, carrying fragrant flower bouquets. As a Portuguese band played the home country’s “National Anthem,” the queen and her attendants walked the mile-long rfoute inside of four fabric-covered “rods” held by the younger girls.
..to be continued…