San Juan recalls past

Vaquero Heritage Days bring back local traditions

VAQUERO HORSEMANSHIP Jeffrey Mundell, ranch manager at the historic El Rancho Cienega del Gabilan, demonstrates a roping technique during Vaquero Heritage Days in San Juan Bautista. Photo by Robert Eliason.

Historians and rancher aficionados came out for Vaquero Heritage Days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 17-19 at St. Francis Retreat in San Juan Bautista.

The annual event recalls the Rancho Era, from the 1770s to the 1840s coinciding with the establishment of Spanish missions.

Vaquero Heritage Days featured historians of the era, as well as artisans and craftspeople offering a wide range of goods manufactured with a reverence for the old ways—silversmiths, saddle makers, rawhide braiders, bootmakers, leather artisans and more. The event also included a number of demonstrations of techniques in horsemanship in the vaquero style, along with live music, food, art and informational booths.

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