Fandango Dance Party held at the Petaluma Adobe


Our annual fandango at the Petaluma Adobe was held on October 3rd, honoring the tradition of the Californio ranchers of the 1840’s who held a fandango to celebrate the end of the matanza, the slaughter of cattle for hides and tallow. Although we no longer have a matanza we still enjoy a dance party so the focus of our fandango was on dancing, with performances and instruction by members of the Baile de California and Yesteryears dance troupes of California. Both groups are dedicated to preserving our cultural history through dance and music. Two members of the Flor y Canto String Ensemble provided guitar accompaniment for the dancers.

Enthusiastic audience members learned the dances and glided across the “dance floor” with the encouragement of the seasoned performers. There were dances for the kids, too, including a sword dance that wisely made use of rubber weapons. Did you know that there are male and female castanets? We learned that during a castanet lesson; male is lower pitch and held in left hand, female is higher pitch and held in right hand. 

Thanks to the Parks staff who organized and supervised this year’s Fandango: Jennifer Hanson, Crystal Battles, Dana Bravo, and Kathleen Wolcott.  And a big thank you to Troy Dunham who had a couple of tables with interpretive displays of tools, crafts, games, household items from the rancho period. Curious kids and adults asked him lots of questions.

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