La Merienda on Saturday, June 4, 2022  MHAA SOLD OUT 91st Premier Annual Event  

La Merienda to be held on Saturday, June 4, 2022  Monterey History & Art Association's SOLD OUT 91st Premier Annual Event  

June 2022. Monterey, CA.  Save the date!  The 91st Annual La Merienda will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2022 outdoors at the Memory Garden off of the Custom House Plaza. All proceeds above the cost of La Merienda itself go to Monterey History & Art Association’s support and maintenance of Casa Serrano, the Doud House and the Mayo Hayes O’Donnell Library.  The event sold out early this year!

About La Merienda
La Merienda celebrates the City of Monterey's 252th birthday with a very special BARBECUE BUFFET EXTRAVAGANZA, a five-star culinary experience created by the OLD FISHERMAN’S GROTTO CHEFS and the VIP Merienda Barbecue Committee, with entertainment by Mike Marotta, Jr. & special guests, mariachis, folklorico dancers, and a festive "Californio" party in the historic Memory Garden on Custom House Plaza on Saturday, June 4, 2022.

All attendees must present an ID and a Covid card showing proof of vaccination.
Monterey's 252nd birthday celebration "La Merienda", the City's oldest and very significant annual event, will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2022, from 11:15 am to 3:00 pm in the Memory Garden on Custom House Plaza. For the past 90 years, Monterey History & Art Association has hosted this community fiesta to commemorate the founding of the City of Monterey when in 1770 Father Junipero Serra and Captain Gaspar de Portola celebrated with a picnic overlooking the Monterey Bay.
The OLD FISHERMAN'S GROTTO CHEFS and the VIP Merienda Barbeque Committee will once again create La Merienda's BBQ BUFFET EXTRAVAGANZA, a five-star culinary experience that at the last La Merienda included Certified Angus Beef New York Steak, BBQ chicken breast, mild Italian sausage, salmon, sautéed shrimp scamp, Paella and more delicious accompaniments and a few culinary surprises. This mouthwatering feast will be followed by the La Merienda traditional dessert, a beautiful multi-layered birthday cake from Layers Bakery, donated by Tina Del Piero and Lynn Tomlinson and decorated with roses by Jackie Craghead, cut ceremoniously with the historic sword of Colonel Fitch.
La Merienda also features Master of Ceremonies David Marzetti and outstanding entertainment by local legend and accordion player extraordinaire Mike Marotta Jr. and his special guests, mariachis and folkorico dancers. Gallant dons, donas and senoritas in 18th century costumes will be the order of the day at this festive "Californio" party. There is also a Silent Auction.  
Community Members are invited to Host a Party Within the Party!
La Merienda can be described as a “party within a party” with uniquely decorated hosted tables. Attendees invite friends, don a costume, decorate a table, and have fun at this festive event! Local companies are encouraged to purchase a table for their staff or special customers. Or, just come for the celebration, join a table and make some new friends. Meet elected officials, military leaders, and local dignitaries at this not-to-be-missed annual event! This outstanding party attracts about 400 people each year. Monterey History & Art Association (MHAA) has hosted this party for the last 89 years and all proceeds go towards supporting Monterey's history and arts programs, Mayo Hayes O’Donnell Library, Sloat Landing, Casa Serrano, Doud House and Garden, The Dali Expo, and La Merienda.  
For further information, go to or call (831) 372-2311. To schedule an interview, contact Wendy Brickman at (831) 594-1500 or email [email protected].
At a Glance:
Each year since La Merienda was founded, a local young woman with historic connections to Monterey is chosen as La Favorita, and with her lovely court, reigns over this unique celebration of Monterey’s history. Two other young women are selected to serve as her attendants (“Doncellas”). The women who are chosen for these roles, accompanied by a chaperone (“La Duena”) can trace their ancestry back through Monterey history many generations. These attractive young women dress in traditional white Spanish gowns and mantillas (scarfs) and greet guests, cut the birthday cake and hold court at the celebration.
Congratulations to Annamarie Stanton, the winner of this year’s Laura Bride Powers Award, Monterey History & Art Association’s most prestigious award who will be honored at this year’s La Merienda. This award is named after the woman who is credited with conceiving both the idea of the Association and the Merienda celebration, which antedated MHAA’s founding.  Mrs. Powers was the Curator of the Custom House and First Theater and an ardent student of California history.  

When: Saturday, June 4, 2022 from 11:15 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Memory Garden, 20 Custom House Plaza, Monterey, CA 93940 (Enter La Merienda at the Memory Garden Gate near the entrance to Peter B’s.)

More Information: To arrange an interview, call Wendy Brickman at 831-594-1500 or email [email protected],  
La Merienda Barbecue Committee
The La Merienda Barbecue is always served by well-known community members. In past years, La Merienda Barbecue servers have included Peter Coniglio, who coordinated this part of the event in the past for over 40 years, with Chris Shake taking it on in 2015.
The 91st Annual La Merienda Barbecue Committee will include a variety of community leaders from elected officials to retired officials such as former Secretary of State Leon Panetta, former longtime City of Monterey Mayor Dan Albert, Former Monterey County D.A., Dean Flippo and many others (subject to change as it does each year). This year's list includes:

Monterey County Supervisor Mary Adams
Rich Aiello
Former Monterey Mayor Dan Albert Sr.
City Councilman Dan Albert
Ted Balestreri Sr.
Ted Balestreri Jr.
Mike Bruno
Sand City Mayor Mary Ann Carbone
Candidate for State Assembly Zoe Carter
Eric Del Piero
Former Monterey County Supervisor Mark Del Piero
John Del Piero
Former Monterey County D.A. Dean Flippo
Past Chairman of the Monterey Chamber Kenny Gordon
Monterey County Superintendent of Schools DR.  Deneen Guss
Jim Guss
Honorable Stephanie Hulsey
Steve Keller
Heidi Keller
Jeff Krebs
Candidate for Monterey County Sheriff Joe Moses
John Narigi
Chris Panetta
Congressman Jimmy Panetta
Former Secretary of State Leon Panetta
Rich Pepe
Carmel Mayor Dave Potter
Honorable Jon Price
Andrew Price
Kurt Saylor
Chairman BBQ Committee Chris Shake
Sabu Shake Jr.
Tene Shake
Rolf Trautsch
Tom Verga
Dr. Darnell Whitt


Sponsorships help to underwrite the cost of La Merienda. La Merienda’s valued sponsors in 2022 are Anthony Lombardo & Associates, Candy Land, Cannery Row Company, Fenton and Keller, 1st Capital Bank, Mission Linen, Monterey Bay Restaurant Equipment, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Chrietzberg, Nicora La Office, Morgan Stanley, The Shake Family, Portola Hotel & Spa, Peter B’s Brewpub, Santa Cruz County Bank, The Coin & Treasure Shoppe, Lucia Boggiato and Shankle Real Estate.

About La Merienda – Additional Background
La Merienda (Spanish word for picnic) includes great food and entertainment, a procession, and much, much more. This not-to-be missed very special community event celebrates the founding of the City of Monterey in June 1770 when Father Junipero Serra (recently canonized as a Saint by Pope Francis) and Captain Gaspar de Portola celebrated with a picnic overlooking the Monterey Bay.
La Merienda, Monterey’s annual birthday party, is a colorful fiesta barbecue of delicious foods, wine, beer, soft drinks, gallant dons and donas, lovely senoritas, lively music and festive dance.  La Merienda (the Spanish term for afternoon picnic or mid-day meal) re-enacts an elegant 18th century fiesta. It celebrates the founding of the town of Monterey on June 3, 1770 when Padre Junípero Serra, father of the California missions (now Saint Serra), and Captain Gaspar de Portola, a Spanish military leader, joined forces to establish the pueblo of Monterey, California’s first Capital. Their meeting also honored the founding of the “Royal Presidio Chapel”, which today is known as San Carlos Cathedral.
After the ceremonies that day, everyone sat down for a picnic under a large oak tree near their ship, the San Antonio, which rested in the harbor. The first modern Merienda was celebrated in 1929, two years before the formation of the Monterey History & Art Association. A ceremony at Colton Hall and a small luncheon at the Memory Garden marked the occasion. It was presided over by Carmel Martin and Harry Greene. The next year, 350 people joined Carmel Martin, who again acted as Master of Ceremonies, in the Memory Garden and once again celebrated Monterey’s birthday.  The Monterey History & Art Association has celebrated this important early California historic event every year since the Association was established in 1931 (except one year during World War II).
The large rose-adorned birthday cake is carried in by local young men (“cake-bearers”), and is sliced with the sword of Colonel Roger S. Fitch, the first President of the Monterey History & Art Association. This event has been sponsored annually by the Monterey History & Art Association for 87 years. Members of Monterey History & Art Association serve as voluntary hosts and hostesses in period costumes at colorfully decorated tables. All guests are also welcome to dress in 18th century costume.
The colorful celebration is held in the Memory Gardens, located near the Custom House Plaza in historic downtown Monterey behind the Portola Plaza Hotel. Festivities begin at 11:15 A. M. with dancing. The doors open to the Memory Gardens where the aromas of the delicious barbeque greet the guests. Day-long entertainment includes live music, Mariachis and folklorico dancers as well as a procession of local and international dignitaries and costumed ladies and gentlemen, reenacting an old tradition.  The gaily-decorated tables are hosted by dozens of MHAA volunteers, who provide hospitality to the guests. After the BARBECUE BUFFET EXTRAVAGANZA (served by another 25 well-known elected officials and local volunteers) the traditional Merienda birthday cake is paraded around the Garden and then cut and served with much ceremony.
La Merienda sponsorships, donations and other services help to defray the cost of this unique not-to-be-missed Monterey celebration. All proceeds above the cost of the Merienda itself go to Monterey History & Art Association’s support and maintenance of Casa Serrano, the Doud House and the Mayo Hayes O’Donnell Library. To become a MHAA member, sponsor or donor, please visit and click on “Join or Donate”.
About Monterey History & Art Association:
From its founding in 1931, the Monterey History & Art Association’s primary mission has been to help preserve the irreplaceable reminders of Monterey’s colorful heritage. Over the past eight decades, the Association has worked closely with the City of Monterey, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and other agencies. As a result, more old adobes have been preserved and restored in Monterey than anywhere else in California.
The Association instituted Monterey’s historic landmark program and created the Path of History which guides visitors to historic sites in old Monterey. It possesses extensive collections of furnishings, paintings, photographs, costumes, books, manuscripts, and other artifacts, and is the parent organization of the following Monterey institutions: Museum of Monterey at Stanton Center, Casa Serrano, the Doud House and Garden, and the Mayo Hayes O'Donnell Library.
The Monterey History & Art Association has been a guiding force in Monterey’s vital historic stewardship. The guarding of Monterey’s precious community assets and the preservation and presentation of its historical heritage for future enjoyment has been made possible by citizens who care and give generously of their time and resources. The Monterey History & Art Association, is the oldest cultural institution on the Monterey Peninsula. It began its work 85 years ago, and is still going strong today as a leader in the preservation of Monterey’s artifacts, historic properties, and local art.
The Museum of Monterey, Stanton Center, which was devoted to chronicling the history of Monterey through its connection with the sea, has been transformed into The Dali Expo, an impressive homage to Salvador Dali's etchings, mixed media, lithographs, sculptures and tapestries by the larger-than-life Spanish surrealist artist open 7 days a week. The Monterey Magic & Comedy Show also holds professional magic performances 7 days a week.