Coronavirus has once again altered but not killed off the Bonitafest. Recent increases in infection rates and their impact on regional hospitals have led the Bonitafest officials to move the 44th Annual Bonitafest Melodrama from a stage production to a radio program. Both Bonitafest parades, however, will go off as originally planned.
Our revised Bonitafest season is as follows:
• Bonitafest Twilight Trail Parade: Friday evening, Sept. 17, 6 p.m., Sunnyside Saddle Club Arena, Rohr Park. Assemble at 5:30 p.m. Participants may ride horses, peddle bicycles or walk the 1.5-mile route, which ends at a street party in the parking lot of the Bonita-Sunnyside Library.
•Bonitafest Car Parade: Saturday morning, Sept. 18, 10 a.m., Sweetwater Community Church, 5305 Sweetwater Road. Vehicles assemble at 9 a.m. Bonita-Sunnyside fire fighters and San Diego County Sheriff’s will lead the 13.1-mile route through Sweetwater Valley neighborhoods.
• Bonitafest Melodrama: With great reluctance, the live performances of the musical-comedy “Really Fast Food” were cancelled and the show was recorded as a radio program. We are currently in negotiations with a major San Diego radio station to broadcast the show later this month. “Really Fast Food” is inspired by a pair of “mystery meat” scandals at a pair of regional fast food restaurants in the 1970s. This year’s cast is marvelous and turned in terrific performances for the radio. Further information when it becomes available.
Southwestern College mariachi founder/director Dr. Jeff Nevin is the Grand Marshal of Bonitafest 49. Nevin is known as the “Johnny Appleseed” of mariachi for his role in establishing college and high school groups over the past 20 years. Southwestern’s Mariachi Garibaldi is generally considered the world’s best college mariachi and has performed across the globe.
Other Bonitafest honorees are Bonita Vista High School history teacher/basketball coach Don Dumas, retired National School District teacher Daryl Hern, COVID ward nurse Ariana Delucchi, MJ’s Fusion Grill chefs MJ and Kevin, teenage recording artist Kieler Muller, college magazine editor Xiomara Villarreal-Gerardo and recently deceased Southwestern College art professor/age group triathlete Dick Robinson.
Bonitafest was founded in 1973 by Emily Ritter to bring people together. Her mission continues today – even if we are a few feet apart.
Max Branscomb, General Chairman of Bonitafest 2021, resides in Bonita.