"Fandango" fundraiser helps museum

Photo courtesy of Nomi Trapnell
Kristen Fuller, from left, Nomi Trapnell, Jason Adajian, Robert Hill and Virginia Farthing wear vintage clothing from Carla Bjork’s collection for the “Fandango” event.

“Fandango! An Evening in Old California,” a fundraiser for the Los Altos History Museum, drew a large crowd to the museum’s grounds July 14.

The event celebrated California’s rancho heritage by re-creating the traditional fandango – a lively Spanish dance.

In old California, the chance to meet, mingle and marry – or do business – was severely limited by distance, according to Kristin Morris, museum collections specialist.

“The answer to the problem … was to gather for significant occasions a few times a year around a birth, wedding, the arrival of a new neighbor or the departure of an old one,” she said. “Their social network was a weeklong party with food, wine and the fandango.”

Recipes from former Los Altos resident Jacqueline Higuera McMahan’s cookbook, “California Rancho Cooking: Mexican and Californian Recipes” (Sasquatch Books, 2003), served as guides for food preparation. McMahan, a resident when Los Altos was still largely orchards, returned for the event. Entertainment included live music from the period, and guests added to the ambience by dressing in period costume.

Proceeds generated by the event have yet to be totaled, but museum officials hoped to raise $10,000 to support exhibits and educational programs, said Executive Director Laura Bajuk.

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