I am truly blessed and honored to be representing our Portuguese community as the 114th Festa do Espirito Santo Queen. I understand the great value and responsibilities that come along with being Festa Queen and I am privileged to have the opportunity to take on this role. I will do my absolute best to serve my community and embody the persona of Queen Saint Isabel of Portugal.
After learning that my family would be throwing Festa, I took it upon myself to revisit Queen St. Isabel’s story and I remembered the part that touched me most. When there was a terrible famine in Portugal and the Queen promised the Holy Spirit, “I will give my crown to the Church if you will send me a miracle, so my people will be relieved of their hunger.” That’s what I hope our 2024 Festa will represent, Queen St. Isabel’s selflessness and giving back to the community.
I have been in Festa every year of my life (besides our covid years) since I was 3 and for me, it’s like a second Christmas, one of my favorite times of the year. When I was young I was ecstatic to put on a big, fancy dress and celebrate with my family and friends. But as I’ve grown up, I’ve learned so much more about the true value of Festa and how special our connections in this community are. I am excited for the year ahead and all I will learn and encounter.
My Grandma, Bea DeSilva, threw Festa twice, the 1st time with my grandpa Joe DeSilva. Now my mother and father get to have their turn. I know my Grammy and Vovo would be so proud to see my parents following in their footsteps and I’m thankful to have them watching over us.
I’ll be forever grateful to have grown up in this community, surrounded by such loving people and mentors who have guided me in life and in understanding my heritage. I pray that God blesses us all with a successful year filled with faith, family, and tradition.
Thank you for this tremendous honor.
Briley Elizabeth Schoeffel
To the San Diego Portuguese community of which the 2024 Festa is dedicated to, I am very honored and excited to be your King! For as long as I can remember I have been wondering what the purpose of holding this tradition was. I knew it was about heritage, but never really understood the significance it held to our Point Loma community.
My grandmother, Elaine Silva Fournier, is someone who understood and instilled in me the importance of heritage. I’ve learned that if you preserve cultural heritage, it defines the national identity of a country. I have enjoyed hearing her experiences when she visited her family’s motherland and the happiness she had explaining every last detail. Everything from the sheer holiness of Lisbon, the architecture of the churches, the fun of the toboggans in Madeira, to the fishing docks in Paul Do Mar. I will always cherish hearing her stories and I can’t wait to experience it myself one day. I find myself personifying the uniqueness of such a beautiful culture and group of people.
I was able to experience our community with our home and at the hall. Our house on the corner of Carlton and Evergreen was one of the very first in the Point Loma community. At the time it was built it was a key spot to see the fishing boats coming into the docks. Today it remains a key spot to watch the parade. I remember when we lived there people from all walks of life came to the house Festa morning to watch the parade. I remember the Point Loma High School Band would stop at our corner and play “We want linguica”, and I watched my family dancing, enjoying one another and eating a linguica sandwich. It felt like I was a part of something bigger than myself. The last couple of years, I have had the opportunity to help at the hall peeling potatoes with the older generations and it has given me a front row seat to the efforts that go on behind the scenes of the Festa like the many people who volunteer decorating, setting up and prep the food and cook in the kitchen. It gives a feeling of enlightenment and I have amazing amounts of gratitude and thanks for the volunteers who are able to make it all possible.
My family and my Catholic religion has taught me the morals and values that all people should hold. When I was younger I saw the Festa as something my mom made me do every year, but over the years I have come to realize that it is bigger than just a select group of people. If anything it is a testament to the generations that came before us and what they held dearly to their heart, heritage and the principles that Queen Saint Elizabeth gave to them in her example of abstinence, modesty, and cheerfulness.
I want to thank the Schoeffel Family, my cousins, for continuing our family’s heritage and culture and for choosing me to be the 2024 King. It means so much to me. A person without knowledge or their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots. We do this to honor those who came halfway around the world seeking new opportunities for their families and settled roots that have continued to grow. Beyond a century later we’re still here and one of the oldest ethnic celebrations in San Diego. To those who came before us, we honor you. To the community of the Portuguese Festa, we dedicate this year to you.
Jaden Andres Delgado