The Year-Round Source for Monterey Bay EventsFriday Oct 19, 2018Monterey Bay Weather


    La Merienda

    La Merienda

    Presented by Brickman Marketing at Custom House

    June 2, 2012

    Add Review/Comment

    Viva La Merienda and Step Back in Time! The Monterey History & Art Association will again hold its popular historic annual La Merienda celebration on Saturday, June 2, 2012, from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM, to celebrate the City of Monterey’s 242nd Birthday. La Merienda is held at the Memory Garden in the patio of the Old Pacific House, a State Historic Monument, 20 Custom House Plaza in downtown Monterey, CA 93940. For more information about La Merienda, call Eric Sand at (831) 372-7788 or Annamarie Stanton at (831) 241-2484. For more information about Monterey History and Art Association and the Museum of Monterey, go to
    The community is encouraged to attend this outstanding event that attracts over 500 people, but due to limited space, tickets should be purchased by May19th. Tickets are $55 for Monterey History and Art Association members and $75 for non-members. The non-member price includes a one-year membership to the Monterey History and Art Association and the Museum of Monterey (new members only). Tickets are now available at the Monterey History and Art Association’s office, located above the Museum of Monterey at 5 Custom House Plaza. Please call 372-2608 for office hours or send a check to La Merienda – MHAA, 5 Custom House Plaza, Monterey, CA 93940. For more information about La Merienda, please call Eric Sand at (831) 372-7788 or email or Annamarie Stanton at (831) 241-2484 or email

    La Merienda, Monterey’s birthday party, is a colorful fiesta of delicious foods, red wine, gallant dons, lovely senoritas, lively music and festive dance. La Merienda (the Spanish term for afternoon picnic or mid-day meal) re-enacts an elegant 18th century fiesta. It celebrates the founding of the town of Monterey on June 3, 1770 when Padre Junípero Serra, father of the California missions, and Captain Gaspar de Portola, a Spanish military leader, joined forces to establish the pueblo of Monterey, California’s first Capital. Their meeting also honored the founding of the “Royal Presidio Chapel”, which today is known as San Carlos Cathedral. After the ceremonies that day, everyone sat down for a picnic under a large oak tree near their ship, the San Antonio, which rested in the harbor. The first modern Merienda was celebrated in 1929, two years before the formation of the Monterey History and Art Association. A ceremony at Colton Hall and a small luncheon at the Memory Garden marked the occasion. It was presided over by Carmel Martin and Harry Greene. The next year, 350 people joined Carmel Martin, who again acted as Master of Ceremonies, in the Memory Garden and once again celebrated Monterey’s birthday. The Monterey History and Art Association has celebrated this important early California historic event every year since the Association was established in 1931.

    Each year since La Merienda was founded, a local young woman with historic connections to Monterey is chosen as La Favorita, and with her lovely court, reigns over this unique celebration of Monterey’s history. Two other young women are selected to serve as her attendants (“Doncellas”). The women who are chosen for these roles, accompanied by a chaperone (“La Duena”) can trace their ancestry back through Monterey history many generations. These attractive young women dress in traditional white Spanish gowns and mantillas (scarfs) and greet guests, cut the birthday cake, and hold court at the celebration.

    The event includes a delicious barbecue and lively entertainment, as well as a huge 75-pound birthday cake beautifully decorated with fresh roses. The cake is carried in by local young men (“cake-bearers”), and is sliced with the sword of Colonel Roger S. Fitch, the first President of the Monterey History and Art Association. This event has been sponsored annually by the Monterey History and Art Association for over 80 years. Members of Monterey History and Art Association serve as voluntary hosts and hostesses in period costumes at colorfully decorated tables. All guests are also welcome to dress in 18th century costume.

    The recipient of Monterey History and Art Association’s most prestigious award, the Laura Bride Powers Award, is announced at La Merienda. This award is named after the woman who is credited with conceiving both the idea of the Association and the Merienda celebration, which antedated MHAA’s founding. Mrs. Powers was the Curator of the Museum and an ardent student of California history.

    Following the barbecue and cake-cutting, entertainment is provided by the always-popular Mike Marotta Jr. Band (with a few special guests). The colorful celebration is held in the Memory Gardens, located near the Custom House Plaza in historic downtown Monterey behind the Portola Plaza Hotel. Festivities begin at 11:00 A. M. with entertainment and dancing by Juventud Latina Genesis in the adjacent Sensory Gardens. At 11:15, the doors open to Memory Gardens where the aromas of the delicious barbeque greet the guests. Day-long entertainment includes music by Mariachis and a procession of local and international dignitaries and costumed ladies and gentlemen, reenacting an old tradition. The gaily-decorated tables are hosted by more than 50 MHAA volunteers, who provide hospitality to the guests. After the steak, chicken and bean barbeque (served by another 25 well-known local volunteers) the traditional Merienda birthday cake is paraded around the Garden and then cut and served with much ceremony. This year Hunter Finnell will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

    New this year is a fun Raffle/Live Auction with Great Prizes, including gift certificates from the Sardine Factory, Agnie’s Boutique, Colton Inn, Portola Hotel & Spa, Dove-Chocolate-Discoveries, Thirty-One Fits, PartyLites Candles & Gifts, and many more! Also new this year is the Para Los Ninos program where children between ages 5 - 12 will enjoy their own special La Merienda celebration with music and games.

    La Merienda sponsorships, donations and other services help to defray the cost of this unique not-to-be-missed Monterey celebration. All proceeds above the cost of the Merienda itself go to Monterey History and Art Association’s support and maintenance of the Museum of Monterey, Casa Serrano, the Doud House and the Mayo Hayes O’Donnell Library. The community is asked to support this wonderful Monterey tradition to help keep this historical event alive in these challenging economic times. To become a sponsor or donor, please call Eric Sand at (831) 372-7788 or email or Annamarie Stanton at (831) 241-2484 or email
    About Monterey History and Art Association
    From its founding in 1931, the Monterey History & Art Association’s primary mission has been to help preserve the irreplaceable reminders of Monterey’s colorful heritage. Over the past seven decades, the Association has worked closely with the City of Monterey, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and other agencies. As a result, more old adobes have been preserved and restored in Monterey than anywhere else in California.
    The Association instituted Monterey’s historic landmark program and created the Path of History which guides visitors to historic sites in old Monterey. It possesses extensive collections of furnishings, paintings, photographs, costumes, books, manuscripts, and other artifacts, and is the parent organization of the following Monterey institutions: Museum of Monterey, Casa Serrano and the Mayo Hayes O’Donnell Library. Monterey History and Art Association has been a guiding force in Monterey’s vital historic stewardship. The guarding of Monterey’s precious community assets and the preservation and presentation of its historical heritage for future enjoyment has been made possible by citizens who care and give generously of their time and resources.

    The Monterey History and Art Association, which operates the Museum of Monterey, Mayo Hayes O’Donnell Library, Casa Serrano, and Doud House, is the oldest cultural institution on the Monterey Peninsula. It began its work 81 years ago, and is still going strong today as a leader in the preservation of Monterey’s artifacts, historic properties, and local art.

    The Museum of Monterey is dedicated to being a leader in models of history and social studies education and a regional leader in educational programming. The Museum implements an array of education-centered programs including outreach and special events. Programs engage the community in innovative and dynamic ways while providing opportunities for life-long learning. To support these goals, the Museum is committed to the creation of a strong educational program with an infrastructure that supports effective services. They are dedicated to increasing the potential for visual and historic literacy, creativity, and critical thinking skills. Topically, the Museum of Monterey focuses on the Monterey Region as a community tied to the land and inspires the appreciation for the beauty and complexity of its rich history.

    For more information about La Merienda, call Eric Sand at (831) 372-7788 or Annamarie Stanton at (831) 241-2484. For more information about Monterey History and Art Association and the Museum of Monterey, go to

    • At-a-

      • Venue Info

        Custom House

        Custom House Plaza
        Monterey, CA 93940

        Full map and directions

      • Admission Info


        $75 which includes museum of Monterey membership for new members $55 for MHAA members

        Info Phone: 831-372-4445

        Buy Tickets

      • Dates & Times

        June 2, 2012


        11:15 AM

      • Accessibility Info
      • Member Reviews

        There are currently no reviews/comments for this event. Be the first to add a review/comment, and let folks know what you think!

    • Member

    • Media

      • Media Reviews

        There are currently no media reviews for this event.

      • Announcement




          has moved. For local arts and cultural events please visit: