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FESTIVAL : Fiesta Feast Takes Flight in San Juan Capistrano

October 01, 1992|FRANK MESSINA | Frank Messina is a free-lance writer who contributes regularly to The Times Orange County Edition.

It seems the entire world knows about Swallows Day in San Juan Capistrano; the tiny migratory birds allegedly return every March amid much media attention.

One of the town's lesser-known celebrations is the annual gathering to wave goodby to the swallows--as happens Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The festivities are sponsored for the 35th year by the city's Fiesta Assn. "Miss Fiesta," " Senor San Juan" and two children will be chosen to represent the association in the next Swallows Day parade, and once that business has been taken care of, the emphasis will be on music, food and fun.

There will be Western dance lessons and games, including horseshoes, pinata-whacking and "chicken bingo" (good taste prevents a complete description of this particular contest). The highlight, though, has got to be the barbecue. The association buys about 400 pounds of beef, and, using a time-honored recipe, marinates it, wraps it in foil and takes it to a deep-pit barbecue where it cooks overnight.

Old-timers say it's what keeps them, sort of like the swallows, coming back year after year.

What: The San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Assn. Barbecue.

When: Sunday, Oct. 4, from noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Campo Vaquero, off Ortega Highway in San Juan Capistrano.

Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (5) Freeway to the Ortega Highway exit and go east for about five miles. Turn left at the sign for Campo Vaquero, a privately owned picnic ground.

Wherewithal: $8 for adults, $5 for children under 12. Includes food; drinks are extra. (Admission for who don't want to eat: $4.)

Where to call: (714) 493-1976.

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