Early Friday morning a crew of over 20 men of the Turlock Pentecost Association hauled in over 20,000 pounds of beef at the Turlock Ballroom for the Association’s annual sopas celebration, commonly known as festa in Portuguese. For thousands of years the sopas celebrations have served to not only allow Portuguese families to celebrate their heritage, but to also feed the community just as Queen Isabel did in the 12th century when the tradition was founded.
Each year the Turlock Pentecost Association prepares the thousands of pounds of meat for the annual sopas dish, which is a broth made of wine, spices, cabbage, tomato soup and garlic poured over a large piece of French bread and garnished with mint. Members of the Association gathered early Friday morning to prepare the meat and will begin serving it to the community Saturday morning distributing over 1,800 pans to families.
“This is the biggest event of the year,” said Martin Cunha, former president of the Association.
Sunday marks the festa celebration, which features a parade of over 30 organizations and nearby Portuguese communities that gather to make their way to mass at Sacred Heart Catholic church before returning to the Turlock Ballroom to crown the festa queen and enjoy the traditional sopas dish.
“It’s been hectic; there’s a lot of planning that goes into it but it’s a tradition that we all enjoy. We get together with friends and family and it’s just a good time,” said Michael Silva, president of the Association.
Check out the next episode of Studio 209 on June 19 at turlockjournal.com and youtube.com/turlockjournal for a more in-depth look at sopas and the Turlock Pentecost Association's festa.