The 500-year Oaxacan tradition of the St. James Festival, or Santiago Apóstol festival, was established in Half Moon Bay in 2001 by locals as a way to celebrate the culture and traditions of the growing Oaxacan community here on the coast. And food is front and center during the celebration.

St. James is the patron saint of the village of Santiago Apóstol in Oaxaca, Mexico. St. James is a significant figure of the church because many people believe that he was one of Jesus’ 12 apostles and the first to be martyred.

The local Oaxacan community will be celebrating the 18th St. James Festival here on the Coastside on Saturday, July 27. 

The festival starts when everyone joins together at 10:30 a.m. for a Mass at Our Lady of the Pillar Catholic Church. After Mass, there will be a procession and dance.

“We want to welcome all of this community which has welcomed us with open arms,” said event organizer Cesar Sanchez, “It’s a ‘thank you’ to everyone. We love this town and feel blessed to have been so accepted.

“There is a folkloric, traditional dance, and the procession goes all around town, inviting everyone to join us and celebrate with us,” said Sanchez.

Free food will be available for those in attendance. Traditional Oaxacan chocolate will be passed out and atole, a Oaxacan delicacy, will be served. Lunch attendees will be offered black mole followed by dessert, pastries and ice cream.

“All the food is traditional, authentic Oaxacan,” said Sanchez, “We want to share our culture with our community.” 

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