Santa Barbara/Puerto Vallarta Sister Cities celebrate kinship of 50 years
The 50th anniversary of Santa Barbara/Puerto Vallarta Sister Cities was celebrated last month in Puerto Vallarta with a number of official and social activities, which included a ceremony at the Puerto Vallarta City Hall to sign the ratification of their original sister city agreement.
Participants included Santa Barbara resident Sebastian Aldana Jr.; Mayor Luis Alberto Michel of Puerto Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta Sister City President Irma Lorena Perez Copado.
Fiftieth anniversary plaques were presented to the mayor of Puerto Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta Sister City members.
“For five decades, there have been historically exciting and challenging moments, building a stronger and more lasting understanding. We have achieved a greater understanding and appreciation of our cultures,” said Mr. Aldana, president of the Santa Barbara Sister Cities Committee, during the ceremony. “There have been many notable events, including numerous back and forth exchanges of social and economic impact. We wish our cities and associations a continuous, close and fruitful relationship, which can contribute to building world peace.”
Ms. Copado repeated her similar message in Spanish.
Mayor Michel added, “Only brotherhood and fraternity are capable of awakening the deepest values in humanity, and that is precisely what we are celebrating on this occasion, a brotherhood of half a century with our family from Santa Barbara, California.”
He recalled that the Sister Cities Committee began in 1972 and that it brought with it great contributions to Puerto Vallarta, such as the Santa Barbara rehabilitation clinic, the hyperbaric chamber (one of the three that existed in the country at that time), the dolphins fountain on the Malecon, the exchange program between the police organizations of both cities that is still in force, more donations, the construction of libraries, support for the fire department and “much more from our generous sister.
“Today, as we renew this twinning, I am sure that we will continue to find that strong spirit to add to our progress, and together we will continue knocking on doors and generating resources for the benefit of Puerto Vallarta and Santa Bárbara.
“Today, we once again make the commitment to continue strengthening the noble brotherhood of our beautiful cities. Congratulations on these 50 years of being Puerto Vallarta – Santa Barbara Sister Cities. Let’s go for another 50! Vallarta has its doors open,” Mayor Michel said.
Father Larry Gosselin of the Santa Barbara Mission was present to give a blessing and share the historic importance of the ongoing sister city relationship as well as commend the special friendships the committee has garnered throughout the past 50 years.
This historic evening was just one of many special events celebrating the 50th SB/PV Anniversary. It was preceded and followed by numerous events that included a welcome dinner at Los Arcos Hotel upon arrival and a welcome breakfast at Senor Frogs on the Malecon hosted by the Puerto Vallarta Sister City members the next morning.
At the Rotary Club of Puerto Vallarta Sur breakfast at the Marriott Hotel, special honors were presented to Marti Garcia, president of Santa Barbara Rotary North, and a presentation of donation checks to organizations sponsored by the Puerto Vallarta, Santa Barbara Rotary North, and Santa Barbara Sunset Rotary.
Framed prints of the Four Pillars were also displayed and discussed. The Four Pillars — Respect, Friendship, Brotherhood and Love — are symbols of the support of an enduring Sister Cities relationship.
Members also visited the Volcanes Educational Center and Sewing School, which offers fashion items and home designs made by the students. The purpose of this project is to provide vocational training for mothers so they can produce, sell and earn money to feed and buy school supplies and school uniforms for their children.
The Educational Center provides education for children of varied ages. Art students at the center participate in the annual I Madonnari Chalk Art Festival, which began in 2005 and is held in November each year in Puerto Vallarta. It is sponsored by the Puerto Vallarta/Santa Barbara Sister Cities Committee.
First prize in the adult category is an all-expense paid trip to Santa Barbara, where they represent Puerto Vallarta in the local I Madonnari Festival, held at the end of May each year.
To learn more about the Education Center or to provide sponsorships, visit english1international.com/volcanes-english-program.
As part of the anniversary celebration, SB/PV members visited the Botanical Garden and had dinner at Punta Arenas Restaurant and cocktails at the Puerto Vallarta Art Museum, where an exhibition of artwork by Javier Nino was on display.
The Playa Los Arcos 50th Anniversary dinner on the beach began with the annual release of the baby sea turtles and included dance performances by Puerto Vallarta Mexican Folkloric.
The annual pilgrimage to Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Church was a highlight of the Sister City events. Guests at Los Across Hotel marched to the cathedral wearing all white, following musicians and dancers along the route.
The 50th Anniversary dinner dance at the Puerto Vallarta Naval Base was preceded by a visit to the hyperbolic chamber on site with a historic video.
The next day there was a gathering in Parque de Los Azulejos (Tile Bench Park) for the viewing of the Santa Barbara/Puerto Vallarta bench designed by artist Anne Hefferman to celebrate the anniversary.