NOTE: Fiesta Fridays is a special series to highlight the many memories I have of Fiesta through the photographs I’ve taken since 2003.
Back when the Fiesta board was getting the festival started, we were always told the best time of year to have an event was late September through mid-October. We loved hearing this because having the event during Hispanic Heritage Month – which falls between September 15 and October 15 each year – was our plan. We were fortunate to have wonderful weather for six years in a row…and then we got to 2009…and the tables turned on us. It was SO COLD!!!
To me this was a true test of our event. Would people come out to our event in the cold? Better yet, would they come out and STAY? The answer was yes and YES! You’ve heard of “fair weather friends,” – well, that year we discovered we had “all weather friends!” We had many new patrons come through, but when I look back on the photos from this particular year, I see so many friends who threw on coats, hats and gloves and came out to Fiesta despite the cold!
These are some of my favorite friend photos of that cold day…
This was also the year we highlighted some of the Fiesta scholarship winners by creating posters to display at the event. We really wanted to put a face on scholarships for Fiesta patrons. The posters contained the recipient’s photo and name, along with their major and a sentence or two about what it meant to win the Fiesta scholarship. While most people who attend our event know they are coming to a Hispanic cultural festival, many don’t know about the reason Fiesta was created in the first place – to award scholarships to deserving Hispanic students who have a need in our community. The money is raised each year through the event sponsorships, donations and the admission tickets.
In 2008, we awarded $5K each to Samford University, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Miles College to create a Fiesta scholarship at each school. That was the largest award we had ever made in one year due to the success of Fiesta the previous years. I remember how excited the board members were to do this and we really felt as though Fiesta had arrived and reached the potential we had all hoped for in the early years. The students featured on the posters were the ones who received the 2008 awards. Many participated in Fiesta in some way and that made the awards even more special to us.
More to come so please come back every other Friday through September 30, 2017, for more behind the scenes stories of Fiesta!