June 21, 2013 – Las Cruces, NM - On this edition of PUENTES, Emily Guerra bridges the community with Fr. Vincent Petersen, Pastor of The Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Village of Tortugas, to tell us about a centuries old event that bridges the community. Tortugas means turtle in Spanish.
For over 100 years the Village of Tortugas has held a celebration every year in June close to June 24th in honor of the village’s patron saint, St. John the Baptist, (San Juan Bautista in Spanish). Twenty-five years ago a turtle race, the Tortugas San Juan Turtle Fest, became part of the celebration. This year will be the 25th Annual Turtle Derby on Sunday, June 23rd, with free registration at 11 a.m. and the race begins at 2 p.m. with over 100 turtles.
The three-day event begins with a golf scramble on Friday at Sonoma Ranch Golf Course. All events on Saturday and Sunday are held under a covered pavilion at the parish hall in Tortugas, with a dance on Saturday, June 22nd; and on Sunday, June 23rd the Turtle Derby, music, food and family entertainment. All events on Sunday are free and open the public. Tortugas is considered part of Las Cruces, near Mesilla Park and New Mexico State University. The parish is located at 3600 Parroquia Street, Las Cruces, NM 88001.