Friday was the first day of the Santa Rita Reunion at the pavilion at Bataan Memorial Park next to Fort Bayard.

Terry Humble, one of the organizers of the first "Born in Space" reunion, said the annual event has turned into a Santa Rita reunion for those who lived and worked at Santa Rita before the town was disassembled and the houses moved all over the county. The town disappeared when the Chino open pit mine needed to produce the copper under the town.

Friday, people began gathering at 8 a.m. and the party continued until midnight. The reunion, with guests coming and going all day long, will continue from 8 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, Sept. 1.

Humble said at least 100 people had come and gone by 5 p.m., with some having stayed all day.

"Every year, the group is a little bit different," he said. "I saw a fellow I had not seen for at least 55 years. He showed up for the event, and we got reacquainted."

Photos by Mary Alice Murphy
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Emilio Soto Flores plays his guitar for a group sitting outside the pavilion.

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Four Soto brothers, Tony, who lives in Santa Clara; Frank of Edgewood; Ray of Fontana, CA; and Chris of Albuquerque were born in Santa Rita.  Above, Chris and Frank pose with their sister Reyna Soto.
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Two of the Silver Stompers dance group, which entertained reunion participants on Friday afternoon, were born in Santa Rita— Rachel Juarez Valencia, who substitutes at Cobre Schools, and Ela Siaz Gonzales, who works at Lawley Team Ford.

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Silver Stompers entertained those gathered for the Santa Rita Reunion.

Live from Silver City

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