Youth from throughout the region took the stage for a performance by El Teatro Campesino at the group’s Family Day fundraiser April 21 in San Juan Bautista. Photo: Tarmo Hannula

Youth from Salinas, Watsonville and beyond put on a short play April 21, joining El Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista as part of the long-standing theater group’s annual Family Day fundraiser. 

Live music, hot food and dessert—as well as the 15-minute play titled “If a Tree Could Talk”—filled the four-hour event that aims to raise funds for ETC’s Community Arts Programming. Face painting, DJ music, a wealth of games for families, merchandise vendors and a lively raffle were also on the menu. 

For the past 58 years, El Teatro Campesino and its founder and artistic director, Luis Valdez, have set a standard for Latino theatrical production in the U.S. Founded in 1965 on the Delano Grape Strike picket lines of Cesar Chavez’s United Farmworkers Union, the company created and performed skits on flatbed trucks and in union halls, and now maintains a permanent theater in San Juan Bautista. 

The annual Family Day fundraiser aims to help bring people of all ages to their “no experience necessary” program that includes theater (teatro), cultural events and community based productions.

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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