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In honor of Mexico’s patron saint, the DeGrazia Gallery In The Sun Museum celebrated La Fiesta de Guadalupe Sunday, Dec. 8 with live music, dancing and a special mass in its recently refurbished Mission in the Sun. 

La Fiesta de Guadalupe is a Catholic holiday originating in Mexico, often featuring large outdoor performances and parades. For the occasion, the DeGrazia Gallery will host mariachi bands, Folklorico dancers and Yaqui Deer dancers. The festival will also provide piñatas for children, and booths with local art and food. 

“It’s an annual event going back to when Ted DeGrazia was alive,” said Lance Laber, executive director of DeGrazia Gallery In The Sun Museum. “There was a time in the ‘90s when Mrs. DeGrazia put an end to it. She thought it was turning into a circus.”

La Fiesta de Guadalupe features the public return of DeGrazia Gallery’s Mission in the Sun, which was damaged by a fire in May 2017. The Mission In the Sun building closed for two years for renovations. The fire, caused by votive candles, damaged both the artwork and the infrastructure. To celebrate the reopening, Father Joseph Saba will lead a mass in the newly renovated building.

The fire impacted most of the artwork on the walls of the original Mission In the Sun building. To replace the missing parts, the gallery would have to paint over the parts that didn’t fall off the wall. 

Laber said DeGrazia Gallery is taking measures to prevent future fires.

“People can no longer put candles on the altar,” he said. “We have a candle rack. They can also use candles that are in glass. We tried to mitigate the problem as much as we can.”

While mass will take place in the mission, much of the holiday’s events, such as the dancing from the Pascua Yaqui tribe, will take place outside. 

“The Yaqui tribe was close with DeGrazia,” Laber said. “When he died, they paid their respects. It’s been traditional to have the Yaquis be part of the festivities.”

Space at the DeGrazia Gallery will be limited for the event. Drivers can drop off people with mobility impairments, but cannot park. The DeGrazia Gallery will offer complimentary van transportation to the festival from the southeast corner of the Ace Hardware plaza at the corner of Sunrise and Swan.

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Museum is located at 6300 N. Swan Road.  

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