WATSONVILLE — Crowds gathered at the Portuguese Community Hall on Sunday morning to prepare for the annual trek to St. Patrick’s Church to celebrate Our Lady of Fatima. Young women dressed in intricate gowns, capes and crowns posed for photographs and then lined up with two marching bands, their families and friends.
Among them were this year’s Portuguese Queen, Natalia Valoroso, and Side Maids Lycia, Chloe and Isabella Carvalho. This year was special for Valoroso, not only due to being queen, but also for adorning the ceremonial cape her mother, Phyllis Valoroso, once wore.
Chloe Carvalho’s mother, Christina, explained how much the cape signified—especially when it is passed down through the generations.
“The dresses are beautiful, but the capes are the real treasure,” she said, pointing out the detailed designs.
The annual Our Lady of Fatima celebration and parade has been an ongoing tradition in Watsonville, bringing in visitors from the greater Portuguese community of California. This year 22 representatives from various cities were present.
“It’s amazing to have people from all over the area here in Watsonville,” said attendee Greg Caput, whose daughters assisted with rosary prayer later in the day. “It’s a wonderful celebration.”
ABOVE: A marching band warms up at the Portuguese Community Hall in Watsonville before leading the parade to St. Patrick's Church. —Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian