The Portuguese community in Kings County is preparing for its 40th annual St. Anthony Celebration this weekend, and are making up for lost time.

According to Maria Wildes, the celebration is a special one in 2020, as last year’s even was cancelled due to COVID-19. This year, however, they’ll not only return, but also hold the event in a new venue while honoring the 2021 St. Anthony Queens, as well as the 2019 Queens. 

The celebration marks the celebration of St. Anthony of Padua, the patron saint of Portugal and Lisbon, its capital city. He is also has patronage towards lost souls, pregnant women and the poor. He was born in 1195 and served as a Franciscan friar and priest. His commemoration in Hanford started in 1981, being organized by a small group of Portuguese dairymen and couples.

Events will kick off at 7 p.m. Saturday with a mass for the sick at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church at 10435 Hanford Armona Road, followed by the presentation of the 2021 Queens in the Rose Room at Kings County Fairgrounds at 8 a.m., along with a dance.

At 9:30 a.m., the procession will go from the Fairgrounds back to the church carrying the statue of St. Anthony, accompanied by marching bands and various Portuguese organization representatives. At 10:30, a Portuguese mass will be held, followed by a luncheon and an auction. At 8 p.m., there will be another dance in the Rose Room until midnight, with the presentation of Queens and the Grand March at 9 p.m.

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