ashland.news
July 18, 2024

Entre Amigos: Guanajuato delegation arrives to help celebrate Independence Day

Guanajuato Amigo Club President Ruben Rodriguez, far right, joined an Ashland Amigo Club barbecue Friday evening cooked by the Ashland Lions Club at the home of Sean and Catherine Van Ausdall, far left. Others, from left, are Jay Tapp (blue T-shirt) and four members of an Ashland delegation that traveled to Guanajuato in June for summer festivities there: Maria Lumbreras, chaperone for Ashland High School “ambassador” MacKenzie Locklin (red blouse), and Amigo Club and Lions Club members Señora Chela Tapp-Kocks and Nancy Lynch.
July 1, 2024

Visitors from Ashland’s sister city will take part in events at Lithia Park

By Kernan Turner

Every year for more than 50 years, sister cities Guanajuato, Mexico, and Ashland have celebrated their summer festivities by sending official delegations to join their counterpart’s merrymaking. This year is no different.

Guanajuato is sending eight delegates this year. The first contingent arrived in Ashland last
Wednesday, led by Guanajuato Amigo Club President Ruben Rodriguez, and included his
daughter, Ameli Rodriguez, and his godson, Jose Luis Hernandez Pena.

Ximena Chao, substituting for this year’s Guanajuato summer festival queen, Liz Ayala, who was unable to make the trip for personal reasons, and Karla Evelyn Munoz Ramirez, assistant to Mayor Navarro, arrived Sunday night, a few hours too late to attend the Ashland Amigo Club’s traditional welcoming party.

Three more from Guanajuato had expected to arrive Monday night, but their flight was canceled.  They say they are still trying to get here by July 4. They are Guanajuato Water Commissioner Juan Andres Balderas, officially representing current Guanajuato Municipal President (mayor) Alejandro Navarro; Balderas’ wife, Ana Josefina Gutierrez Reyes; and Eduardo Smith Soria, brother-in-law and official representative of Presidente Municipal-Elect (Mayor-Elect ) Samantha Smith, who is the wife of the current mayor. (Update: The three whose flight was canceled Monday arrived Tuesday.)

Nearly everyone attending the Amigo Club’s annual Fourth of July party pause for a picture Sunday evening on the lawn of Suzanne and Riichard Haverman. The event traditionally welcomes the Sister City delegates from Guanajuato, Mexico, who come each year to join in Ashland festivities. Photo by Ruben Rodriguez of Guanajuato
Long tradition

Ashland and Guanajuato have been sister cities for 55 years. They’ve sent delegations each year to Ashland’s Independence Day celebrations except for those of 2020 and 2021, curtailed at the height of the COVID pandemic.

The highlight of the current visit will be riding in the Chamber of Commerce’s Fourth of July Parade, along with Mackenzie Locklin, an Ashland High School “ambassador” who accompanied the Ashland city delegation to Guanajuato in June for its celebration of  the San Juan Festival and the traditional annual cleansing of the La Olla Dam.

After the parade, the Guanajuato travelers and four others expected to arrive later in the week will sing the Mexican national anthem during Fourth of July events at the Lithia Park bandstand. 

Meeting with the mayor

The busy calendar of activities, coordinated by the Ashland Amigo Club,  began with breakfast at El Tapatio Restaurant on Thursday, hosted by Ashland Mayor Tonya Graham. After breakfast, they toured Reeder Reservoir, source of the city’s drinking water, with Public Works Superintendent Mike Morrison.

On Friday, they were invited to an Amigo Club potluck and chicken barbecue cooked by the Lions Club at the home of Amigo Club Treasurer Sean Van Ausdall and his wife, Catherine. 

Rodriguez, the Guanajuato Amigo Club president, announced at the barbecue that four more participants from Guanajuato are expected to join him in Ashland. They are Juan Andres Balderas, representing Municipal President (mayor) Alejandro Navarro, and Balderas’ wife, Ana Josefina Gutierrez Reyes; Eduardo Smith Soria, brother of Municipal President-elect Samantha Smith, wife of the current municipal president; and Guanajuato Regidora (city councilor) Karla Evelyn Munoz Ramirez. 

Some 50 Spanish speakers participated in the 11th annual Spanish Poetry Recital on Sunday, held each year as part of the Fourth of July celebrations arranged by the Ashland Amigo Club. Posing during lunch are several reciters from around the Rogue Valley (l-r) Aleyda Mark, Ana Maria Salaverry, Ada Hodgen, Patricia Soltz, Maythe Saturen, and (back) Lady Vanderlip. The recital was held on patios at the Ashland residence of Amigo Club members Kernan and Betzabe “Mina” Turner. Several Guanajuato delegates in town for Ashland’s Fourth of July activities also read poems. Facebook photo
A full schedule

Other activities programmed for the visitors include:

  • A private flight over the Rogue Valley and Crater Lake, piloted by City Councilor Jeff Dahle.
  • Luncheon at the Hannon Library at SOU, hosted by university President Rick Bailey and SOU’s provost and vice president for academic and student affairs, Casey Shillam.
  • Breakfast at the Emek Shalom Temple.
  • A city tour provided by Amigo Club founder Señora Chela Tapp-Kocks.
  • The annual Amigo Club outdoor party at the residence of Suzanne and Richard Haveman.
  • Transportation to all sites in an SOU van driven by Amigo Club member Nancy Lynch.
  • The 11th annual Spanish-language Poetry Recital at the residence of Amigo Club immediate past President Betzabé “Mina” Turner and her husband, Kernan.
  • An afternoon of sailing at Emigrant Lake on a Hobie Cat provided by Van Ausdall.
  • A jet boat ride down the Rogue River sponsored by the Amigo Club.
  • Wine tasting at the residence of Karen Grove and Jay Ach.
  • An Oregon Shakespeare Festival backstage tour and the OSF production of “Much Ado about Nothing.”

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

July 1: Updated with latest information about additional individuals who joined the delegation visiting Ashland from Guanajuato.

Picture of Jim

Jim

Related Posts...

Latest posts

Council agrees: A denser Ashland would make more city more ‘liveable’

In just an hour and half on Monday night, the Ashland City Council strongly affirmed that the city’s future will include major swaths of taller, denser development designed to reduce our dependency on automobiles, adapt to climate change, and provide a greater amount of multi-family and affordable housing, while striving to provide spaces for commercial and small-scale industrial uses.

Read More >

Chris Honoré: A debate narrative

Chris Honoré: Donald Trump simply cannot win the presidency. He must not return to the White House. Perhaps he can last four more years, but our Democracy won’t. With a mixture of regret and urgency, the number of elected Democrats calling for President Biden to step down grows.

Read More >

Obituary: Jed D. Meese

Obituary: Jed Meese died on June 24 at the age of 86. Jed started several successful companies, each with a physician partner in Japan, Sweden, Turkey, and the UK, which designed and developed both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Jed was extremely generous and philanthropic to our community and nationally. He served on Boards of Directors and Foundations for Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Southern Oregon University, Ashland Community Hospital, Asante, Ashland Family YMCA, and many others.

Read More >

Obituary: Joyce Theresa (Brenner) Epstein

Obituary: Joyce Theresa (Breener) Epstein, 96, of Ashland died March 26. Her work has been dramatized by college and university theater arts departments, and she is the author of the chapbook, “A Journey Through Life Unguarded, The Book,” and “The Stars Gave Us Names.”

Read More >

Explore More...

In just an hour and half on Monday night, the Ashland City Council strongly affirmed that the city’s future will include major swaths of taller, denser development designed to reduce our dependency on automobiles, adapt to climate change, and provide a greater amount of multi-family and affordable housing, while striving to provide spaces for commercial and small-scale industrial uses.
Chris Honoré: Donald Trump simply cannot win the presidency. He must not return to the White House. Perhaps he can last four more years, but our Democracy won’t. With a mixture of regret and urgency, the number of elected Democrats calling for President Biden to step down grows.
Ashland's Street Division installed a colorful thermoplastic artwork piece titled "Walking Upstream." The work was designed by Glory Salinas Nylander and chosen by the Public Arts Advisory Committee and funded by the Ashland Beautification Initiative.
City Corner: Please remember, effective emergency preparedness means ensuring ALL your family members have access to Citizen Alerts, including older children with cellphones.
Jed D. Meese, known in the Rogue Valley for the many millions he and his family donated for the betterment of the community, died at home in Medford on June 24, 2024, at the age of 86. Friends and associates say the true measure of the man was in the contribution of not only his treasure, but also his time and talent and empathy.
ashland.news logo

Subscribe to the newsletter and get local news sent directly to your inbox.

(It’s free)

Don't Miss Our Top Stories

Get our newsletter delivered to your inbox three times a week.
It’s FREE and you can cancel anytime.