Photos by: Pete R. Placencia

The 19th annual Rebozo Festival was held at the Camarillo Ranch on Sunday, May 21.
Nestled under the giant evergreens, palms, and the 130-year-old Moreton fig tree, the festival sold an estimated 800 tickets and provided a large gathering to financially support nonprofit agencies throughout Ventura County.

Launched in 2005 as a fundraiser by founder and director Irma J. Lopez, it began in her backyard with a much smaller group of 250 people. From there it grew rapidly each year.
“I live in a cul-de-sac,” said Irma. “As it grew, the people would fit in my yard, but the cars wouldn’t fit on the street.”

Today, its size is indicative of the large community of “madrinas” (Spanish for godmothers) who support it. The money raised from sponsorships and ticket sales is donated to nonprofits who submit a grant proposal to Las Madrinas.

“They write a grant and in September, we make the choice and then they receive the money this year,” Irma explained.

A especial presentation was made in honor of Carmen Ramirez, former Ventura County Board of Supervisors that tragically pass away last year, for the many years of excellent work done in the community. Carmen Ramirez was named 7th Annual Honorary Madrina of the Year 2023.

The rebozo, a colorful Mexican scarf, is the symbol of the festival. The scarves which are sold at the festival are selected from various locations throughout Mexico. The madrinas take periodic trips down to Mexican locations such as Oaxaca, Michoacán, and Jalisco.

For Irma, the rebozo is symbolic of Latino warmth and generosity. “It embraces the warmth of our Latino culture to our community,” she said. “It’s a symbol of love. We carry our babies in it. We carry groceries in it. We use it for festivals like today.”

This year’s one of the recipients of the Festival’s 2023 Grants for $15,000 was Animo Theatre Company and the seconday recipient was Parents Against Santa Susana Field Lab (PASSFL). As part of the day’s festivities, music was provided by a ballet folklorico, Teatro Inlakech, Ballet Folklorico Mestizo of Oxnard College and Oxnard Mariachi Águilas de J. Carlos Ozuna.

To highlight the rebozo, a fashion show was hosted by the Señoritas del Rebozo and chaired by Madrinas Yolanda P. Lopez.

Irma Lopez. Lopez Originally, from Camarillo, she attended St. Mary Magdalen School at the chapel that Adolfo Camarillo helped to build. She is excited to have the festival connected to his legacy as a benefactor in the local community.

“I feel that he’s up there in spirit,” she acknowledged, “looking down and seeing that we’re sharing the traditions of his heritage. I think he’s very happy.”