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ANNUAL HERITAGE BARBECUE                                      AUGUST  20,  2012

Well here it is September which means the 2nd weekend will be spent in San Juan Capistrano.  The 26th Annual Heritage Barbecue will take place on Sunday, the 9th, starting at 3:00 PM.  I intend to be there again if the old bod’ allows.  I somehow HAVE to get there.  After all, I AM the oldest living representative of the Forster family, last of the 5th generation inCalifornia.

The barbecue takes place about 15 miles out ofSan Juanjust off theOrtega Highwayat the Rancho Mission Viejo Amantes Camp, where the cattle were gathered in the old days for branding.  The Ranch was one the many holdings belonging to my great grandfather, Don Juan Forster until he passed away in 1878.

The Amantes Camp is a perfect setting for a huge barbecue.  The present day owners have made it a beautiful spot in this little valley.  There is a huge barbecue pit, there are several dozen lengthy tables with attached benches, serving tables;  all of this surrounded by huge old oak trees.  There is a cement slab for dancing, and a concrete stage about 4 feet in height for a band, or for someone to expound their little heart out to all the guests.  Several years there have been 600 people served.

My second cousin Tony Forster was President of the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society which presents this barbecue and the Rancho Mission Viejo are involved by furnishing the venue.  Tony, I think, was a huge spark in getting this barbecue going in a big way. He served as President for 17 years.  He loved the part he did for the barbecue.  He would go buy a whole bunch of tri-tip roasts and chicken, then would marinate all this for a couple of days in the famous Forster marinade.

He would assemble his crew early on Sunday, and he had some fine helpers:  among them, his younger brother Pat,  2 of my nephews, John and Mickey, then other fellows from the area who were there year after year.  Tony is no longer with us for several years now, but his crew still takes care of the barbecue.  The women are in charge of the balance of the menu;  salad, frijoles, Spanish rice, tortillas, and then cookies for dessert.  Beer is for sale, or BYOB — which we definitely do.

Out in the middle of this area, it is one big grassy area, so the kids can go there and play football, or baseball, or soccer.  Some of the big guys are allowed to play.  It’s a beautiful setting.

The food is served, and our family group has had a couple of floaters, while visiting around with the old friends; all is well with the world, and after everyone has eaten, the music group starts playing, so one can dance some of that barbecue off.

Then there is a big raffle, and you know what? — all these years I have NEVER won a darn thing.  I used to hope I would win the 2 bicycles, but that’s too late for now.

So the Warden and I will be moseying over to the coast on Thursday, and then return on Monday after the barbecue.  If anything of  note takes place, I will report back.  If nothing of note takes place, I will just make up some wild story.

 

MELITAS FORSTER

 

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