SAN ANGELO — Conexion San Angelo is set to host its 17th annual Christmas Posada.

The free event will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, at the McNease Convention Center, 501 Rio Concho Drive. Tamales, punch, buñuelos and champurrado (Mexican hot chocolate) will be served to guests. Doors will open to guests at 5:30 p.m.

A "posada" is a celebration of the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem seeking a place at an inn for Mary to give birth to Jesus. It is a largely Latin American and Mexican tradition, but is celebrated in the United States as well.

It's not about the religious aspect, though, said Gregorio Gutierrez, founder of Conexion. It's about celebrating the tradition. The posada in San Angelo is a dual celebration, as well.

"Conexion began on the day we had our first posada in 2002," Guiterrez said in a telephone interview. "The first year, we had 50 people come to the posada."

That first year's event was held at the Boys & Girls Club of San Angelo's Southside location. After five years of hosting there, the posada moved to the Boys & Girls Club of San Angelo's Northside location on Lillie Street, then to a venue at South Angelo Plaza. For the last 11-12 years, Guiterrez said, the posada has been held at the convention center and grown in numbers.

Gutierrez expects approximately 1,100 guests for the celebration and credits community members such as Trinidad Aguirre for helping get the word out to sponsors regarding the event.

For more information about the Conexion Posada, call Gutierrez at 325-655-6371.