An official delegation from Ashland's Sister City, Guanajuato, Mexico, will arrive in Ashland next Tuesday, continuing a 47-year tradition of riding in the annual parade that draws thousands of spectators to Ashland’s downtown business district.

Meanwhile, an Ashland Sister City delegation is currently visiting Guanajuato to celebrate its festivals of San Juan and the Presa de la Olla, the latter consisting of the symbolic cleaning of the La Olla reservoir, celebrated since the 18th century when the dam was periodically drained and refilled.

In Guanajuato, two Ashland High School students, 17-year-old Kate Joss-Bradley, daughter of Jennifer Joss and Tom Bradley, and Halle Lowe, 16, daughter of Candace Turtle and Robert Lowe, have joined the festival queen’s court and are presenting a song-and-dance routine they have been practicing for months.

The Ashland delegation includes city Administrator Dave Kanner in representation of Mayor John Stromberg, City Councilor Stefani Seffinger and Amigo Club members Carol Draime and Señora Chela Tapp-Kocks. 

The Ashlanders will return home in time to help greet the Guanajuato guests, including festival Queen Graciel Pérez. The visitors will participate in several Fourth of July activities, including separate breakfasts hosted by Mayor Stromberg and Southern Oregon University President Roy Saigo. The Chamber of Commerce has invited them to its annual Fourth of July barbecue on June 30.

On July 1, they will attend the formal dedication of the commissioned mural being painted by Guanajuato artist Laura “Loreta” Rangel Villaseñor on the side of a building on Calle Guanajuato.

The Ashland Amigo Club has coordinated a tentative schedule that includes city tours and shopping, a jet boat excursion down the Rogue River, sailing on Emigrant Lake, wine tasting at a local vineyard, breakfast at Temple Emek Shalom, Mass at Our Lady of the Mountain Catholic Church, and a visit to the Jackson County Animal Shelter. The club will greet the Mexican guests at its annual July fourth party on July 2, and they will participate in the club’s fifth annual Spanish-language poetry recital on July 3.

In addition to Queen Pérez, those tentatively scheduled to come to Ashland include City Councilor Juan Carlos Delgado Zárate and his son Fabian, Council Administrative Assistant Guadalupe Miranda; ecologist Gaby Gomez; and possibly two members of the Heroic Corps of Volunteer Firefighters, Chief Daniel Barrera and Capt. Juan Eduardo Luna Lira. Guanajuato is still working on its final list of participants.

Guanajuato artist paints mural in Ashland

An artist from Sister City Guanajuato, Mexico, is halfway to completing a colorful mural on the side of a building at the upper entrance to Calle Guanajuato beside Ashland Creek behind the Plaza. 

The mural, titled “Las Calles de Guanajuato (Streets of Guanajuato),” is the largest ever undertaken by artist Laura Rangel Villanueva, who signs her work “Loreta.” Local artist and muralist Denise Baxter and art students at Southern Oregon University are assisting.

Loreta began work on the mural in late May and will complete it time for the official dedication planned for noon, July 1, when the Fourth of July delegation from Guanajuato is in town. Loreta was born in Silao, Mexico, and has lived in Guanajuato for 25 years.

Ashland residents Barry and Kathryn Thalden commissioned the mural “to honor our sister city and provide an appropriate and spectacular gateway to the Calle.”

Guanajuato Little Leaguers Coming to Ashland

A Little League team of 12- and 13-year-olds from Guanajuato will arrive July 22 for the second Sister City Little League Baseball Classic, facing a doubleheader the next day against Ashland in the U.S. Cellular Community Park. For more information, contact Rosenthal by rich@council.ashland.or.us.

Amigo Club’s Entre Amigos (Between Friends) column about Ashland ties to its sister city Guanajuato, Mexico, appears on the third Tuesday of each month. Longtime AP reporter and bureau chief Kernan Turner is an Ashland resident and Amigo Club member.