You are coming to Bucerias, one of the most popular beach resort towns in the state of Nayarit, to do some upkeep on your family’s rental property. A week should be long enough to get the work done.
Everything you needed to do got done early in your stay. Now what do you do?
You paint benches at the central plaza in Bucerias, of course.
That’s what Simone Redburn, of Mission, British Columbia, decided to do to pass part of her time in the three remaining days of her “working vacation” in Bucerias.
“I am proud of our little plaza,” Redburn says. “Many amazing memories there, sitting and watching the world go by.
“I spent countless hours there with my small kids, watching them play with the local kids.
“Also, my father, who just passed away last year. Bucerias and the plaza was his happy place and now it’s mine.”
Redburn has lived in Bucerias on two prior occasions. Ten years ago she was the bartender at The Shamrock Bar and Grill and Bucerias Gardens, both now only memories of an earlier time. And two years ago, her entire family lived in Bucerias for eight months while her kids attended school.
“I watch over a family house here and got all the maintenance jobs done early and I didn’t want to spend the remainder of my week here drinking beers at the beach bars,” she says.
Redburn is a real estate agent in Mission and says she understands the importance of first impressions of a town.
“I have seen a lot of tourists dropped off from their taxi at the plaza, before they wander through it to the beach. I’ve always been proud of our little plaza and I’m certainly willing to help keep it looking nice and fresh,” adding with smile, “does that sound too cheesy?”
She continues: “I thought the plaza is looking a little run down and it might start a trend, if anyone wants to help with painting after I head home.”
Redburn painted two benches, working in the morning before the sun got too hot.
“I received so many thank yous from the locals – and two cold beers – and in a strange twist, some mariachi guys in their outfits took a photo of me.”
A couple of years ago, Redburn painted the “grubby” and heavily grafittied footbridge over the arroyo, also known as the “kissing bridge.”
“I painted it totally white, but put vertical lines to divide the walls into spaces for people to be creative and paint murals in each block.”
Now every block has one for people to enjoy as they walk across the bridge.
In Mission, Redburn is the Terry Fox Run organizer and also volunteers at the Hope Central soup kitchen, as well as being a member of the Mission Rotary Club.
Before she left Bucerias last Saturday, Redburn issued a challenge for others to paint the remaining four plaza benches.
One more bench requires more than simply paint, and several posters on Facebook promised to share the cost of having it repaired.
Kim Keller-Rakochy and her husband Mike took up the paint challenge and spent Sunday morning filling in for Redburn.
Redburn hopes to do more plaza-sprucing upon her return to Bucerias, possibly as early as April, she says.
As benches were being painted in el centro, the Take Pride in Your Town cleanup was taking place at the south end of Bucerias.
Along with community improvement advocate Susana Del Toro, part-time residents Debbie Fischer and husband Dave – from Colorado Springs – oversaw the cleanup of several streets adjoining vacant lots in the Las Palmas-Dorado neighborhoods.
“This is our way of giving back to the community,” said Debbie Fischer.
Fischer and Del Toro were somewhat disappointed at the low turnout of only a half-dozen local volunteers, despite ample promotion of the project on social media. Nonetheless, they provided enough water, tacos and sandwiches to feed an army and heaped praise upon the five workers provided by the municipal Department of Public Services, whom she described as friendly and “super energetic.”
A dump truck was also provided by the municipality.
At one point during the cleanup, a local police patrol stopped by to assure Fischer they would be on the lookout for illegal trash dumping and take action to curtail it.
Fischer hopes the results of the six hours of raking, sweeping and shoveling will encourage more volunteers to come out for future cleanups.
Going to the dogs
Bucerias part-time resident Sandra Millar completed her career in education and then decided to take some classes of her own, including painting. She recently decided to have her own art exhibit.
“I’ve been busy creating enough work to have this show,” said Millar. “I decided I could use my paintings to raise money for the Paws and Claws spay/neuter program in Bucerias. I volunteer at the clinics and thought about what I could do to help the cause.”
Millar was nervous about the show, but these quickly eased when she sold one painting while she was setting up.
Many Bucerias residents, snowbirds and tourists stopped by to see the exhibit, and Millar ended up the day with sales totaling 8,532 pesos.
“Sandi has done an amazing job of raising money by selling her beautiful paintings,” enthused Paws and Claws Treasurer Clare Pearcy, after Millar presented her with the money. “It will be put to good use in continuing our work. We all appreciate her hard work and generosity.”
After hearing what Millar was planning, Margot McKenzie, another Paws and Claws volunteer, decided to bring some variety to the art show.
McKenzie made several kinds of Indian food which customers could take home, raising 3,000 pesos, which she also donated to Paws and Claws.
McKenzie is known for making dog treats and baked goods for to benefit Paws and Claws.
The annual Paws and Claws Pet Picnic is set for Sunday, March 11, 2 to 4 p.m. at the Tercera Edad Sr. Center in Bucerias.
Dogs and humans can enjoy socializing and participating in fun contests such as best tricks, best dressed, best catcher and more.
Food and drinks will be available for purchase (for people and pets). A photographer will be on hand to catch the cute pups in action.
Admission tickets are 100 pesos per person, sold at the door.
New art center
Bucerias artist Orisia Nova, founder of the new art complex Hacienda de Arte at Lazaro Cardenas 71, has announced her first art class schedule
Budding artists can learn abstract art techniques and discover their personal artistic style at her classes held on Tuesdays, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sessions for young artists, aged 5 to 11, are scheduled from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
“We focus on enjoying the process of creating through experimentation and creative exploration,” says Nova.
The cost is 600 pesos or US$30. Young artist sessions are 400 pesos or US$20.
The preliminary calendar includes the abstract art classes as well as “open studio” days.
Nova says she will be announcing more activities at Hacienda de Arte in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
Woodstock & beyond
The Bucerias Food Bank is inviting everyone to “get their hippie on” for a new fundraising show – “Woodstock and Beyond: A Hippie Adventure.”
This afternoon of music and dancing takes place Monday, March 5, 2 to 6 p.m. at the Drunken Duck in Bucerias centro.
The music will be performed by the popular Gecko Band, along with special guest performers Ivette Guadarrama and Adriana Ramirez.
All the songs will be taken from the Woodstock festival and hippie era.
Besides the music, there will be 50/50 drawings, tequila raffles, a cash bar and a best costume contest for the most authentic male and female hippie.