Mary Rosa Giglitto

In Loving Memory of Mary Rosa Giglitto…


The Cabrillo Festival 2011 honors President Emerita Mary Rosa Giglitto, born on March 12, 1938, in San Diego, passed away on February 27, 2011.

Mary was one of the founders of the Cabrillo Festival Inc. having been president several times and became the most enthusiastic supporter before the Portuguese, Mexican, Spanish, and US governments, as well as the Native American community. Her enthusiasm and diligence was a factor in having the Cabrillo Festival become one of the premier international festivals in the United States. A bronze commemoration bust sculpted by Kitty Cantrell will be unveiled at the 2011 Cabrillo Festival.

Cabrillo Festival, Inc. is a is a 501c3 California Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation. Cabrillo Festival, Inc. holds the annual Cabrillo Festival, a fun event for the entire family, with educational activities, cultural demonstrations and exciting folkloric performances. Brightly colored clothing and dramatic music and dancing bring to life the traditions of the Native American, Mexican, Portuguese and Spanish cultures that are part of the Age of Exploration. The Cabrillo Festival features food booths with delicious traditional Mexican, Native American, Portuguese and Spanish food. Vendors will showcase their various artistic goods.

The bust will be then be displayed, on a permanent basis, at the Portuguese Historical Center for public appreciation.


On June 27, 1542, Cabrillo set sail from Navidad on Mexico’s west coast with three vessels; San Salvador, La Victoria and San Miguel in search of gold and a route to the Orient and the Spice Islands. Sailing northwest into uncharted waters, they explored the west coast of Baja California. On September 17th they anchored at San Mateo, known today as Todos Santos Bay, Ensenada. A few days later they departed. Sailing north they landed on September 28th at “an enclosed harbor which was very good.” Cabrillo named it San Miguel. We know it today as San Diego. Cabrillo and his men remained for six days, trading with the native Kumeyaay people living around the bay, exploring and taking on supplies and fresh water. On October 3rd they departed, continuing their voyage northward along the coast of Alta California. Although Cabrillo died of an injury before completing his journey, he is one of the most recognized figures of the Age of Exploration.

The highlight of the Cabrillo Festival is the re-enactment of Cabrillo’s landing on the shores of San Diego Bay. “Cabrillo,” his soldiers and a priest sail into the bay on San Salvador (The Californian), and once again claim the land for Spain.

Mary was, is, and will always be a symbol to the Cabrillo Festival. Besides the Cabrillo Festival she was active in the Portuguese community, honored by the Portuguese Government, by the State of California, and the City of San Diego.