Good music, good food, and good fun are often hard to find. However, there is one event that makes this search easier for a lot of people.
‘Fiesta Indianapolis’ is that event– an annual occurrence that celebrates Latino culture in Central Indiana. It brings a diverse and ever-growing community closer together and also invites others to join and share in the celebration of the Latino heritage.
On Saturday, Sept.19, the most recent ‘Fiesta Indianapolis’ took place at the American Legion Mall in downtown Indianapolis. For one day only, the Mall was filled with music, food, dancing, and activities to celebrate the Latino heritage. This annual festival attracts approximately 15 thousand people every year, making it a huge tourist attraction. This year it was a particularly special event because the celebration began its tradition in 1980, making it the 35th anniversary. In addition to being a celebration of Latino heritage, this event also signifies the triumph of La Plaza, the organizers of the festival, who have managed to bring this jamboree to Indianapolis for 35 years. La Plaza is a Latino organization based in Indianapolis that supports families through educational programs, youth services and workforce development.
Many artisans show off their work at the festival. For example, one woman presented a cart full of paper mache skulls that she had made to sell for the Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead. Another artisan brought his original paintings to sell. Also, many hand-made clothes were up for sale, including lots of ponchos and sombreros.
As for music, at Fiesta there was live entertainment from noon until 10 pm. A variety of bands played traditional and current music and dancers performed the merengue, flamenco, tango, and salsa. The mariachi band played classics such as “Besame Mucho.” Several students from SHS took advantage of the entertainment and the opportunity to taste traditional foods from Spanish-speaking countries.
Sophomore Andrea Vidaurre attended the festival with her father and younger sister. She enjoyed the music, shopping, and most of all, the food.
“I liked walking around to the different stands and listening to the music. Most of all, I enjoyed the food. We ate pinchos (shish kabobs), pupusas (thick corn tortillas with cheese), and rice,” Viaurre said.
Mr. Sponsler, International Club sponsor, and several members of the club took advantage of the opportunity to try new foods, listen to music, and watch a variety of dancers and live entertainment during their excursion to Fiesta. Sponsler had fun at the festival despite the cool and rainy weather.
“The festival was nice even though the weather wasn’t the best. I tried a Puerto Rican food, a sort of pork shish kabob, that was amazing! The live performers were very talented and I enjoyed their performances very much,” Sponsler said.
Diego De La Vega, sophomore, enjoyed the festivities, especially meeting people and trying some traditional foods.
“I had a lot of fun! I ate churros and my favorite part of the festival was meeting new people. I cannot wait to go to the festival next year,” De La Vega said.
Attending Fiesta was a fantastic learning experience for the students. It brings to life the culture and traditions that students learn about in Spanish class.
“I think that it is an amazing learning experience, one that you get by actually seeing the things you talk about in class. I will definitely be going back next year,” Sponsler said.
After hearing about the fun at Fiesta, sophomore Sophia Craig, wished that she could have gone. She said that she will be attending the festival next year because it seems like a lot of fun.
“I would like to have gone to the festival because I don’t get to have food like that often and it seems delicious.” She said that she will be attending the festival next year because it seems like a lot of fun.
´Fiesta Indianapolis´ is a great experience for people from all walks of life. It provides an opportunity for a diverse group of people to come together to learn about and share in celebrating the Latino culture.