Fiesta 2020 just wrapped up and while I plan to share what the Fiesta Board did in the Covid environment to make it happen, I realized that I had not shared anything about Fiesta 2019!
It’s funny how much our board reminisced about 2019 while getting Fiesta 2020 pulled together. We had a beautiful day to celebrate Hispanic culture and heritage in Linn Park with the theme – Celebrating Alabama Together / Celebrando a Alabama Juntos! As a board, we always work hard to make sure everything we do has an Alabama connection and the State of Alabama’s bicentennial celebration was the perfect pairing.
One fun element we added this year were roaming photographers through a company called Ring Light Photos. You took your photo looking through a light ring and the result was a photo bordered with the Fiesta logo and theme for the year that you could text to yourself and keep! I seriously don’t know who loved it more…the Fiesta board members (see the photos for proof) or the people who attended Fiesta! We all agreed we need to do this for our next Fiesta.
A big Fiesta feature that most people may not have noticed was our army of volunteers! Thanks to the efforts of teachers Charity Johnson, former Spanish teacher at A.H. Parker High School and Lisa Garrison, with Vestavia Hills High School, who served as Volunteer Co-Chairs, Fiesta was fully staffed with high school students eager to help! From the time I met them several years ago, both Charity and Lisa have looked at participation in Fiesta as an opportunity for their students to immerse themselves in the Hispanic culture and countries and find out more about the Latinx community. This was their third year to be involved and because they took the time to explore Fiesta personally, they were able to offer suggestions for activities that kids would enjoy for our Family Village and actively created activities to bring along! Their story of why they think Fiesta is important for their students and the community was covered by The Birmingham Times and widely shared.
For me, seeing the sea of volunteer Fiesta t-shirts across Linn Park was enough to make me get a little emotional. I loved meeting each of these students and seeing them get excited about helping little ones with craft projects in the Family Village or helping our board members in several other villages and onstage throughout the day. Their eagerness to help was profound and I know that the reason these students turned out in such large numbers is a tribute to these two amazing teachers. I really hope we can have them back in 2021 because they made such a lasting impression on the Fiesta board and event planners.
The Coca Cola Main Stage is always the centerpiece of activity throughout the day. We feature as many local artists as we can early in the day. Last year we even had The Birmingham Boys Choir take part. It’s always great to add local flavor to the festival and hope to do more of that in the future.
The main artists later in the day really brought the energy. One of these artists was Genessa and The Selena Experience. This young lady does covers of music by Selena. And if you know about Selena Quintanilla, the Queen of Tejano music, you know she is a revered Latina artist who was tragically murdered at the peak of her stardom at 23 years of age. All I can say is that Genessa drew a crowd and she was incredible! Everyone wanted a photo with her! Our headliner was La Energia Norteña and when we have a Mexican band at the end of our event, the crowd just goes crazy!
At the end of our headliner’s performance, the entire Fiesta board walked onstage to thank the crowd. I think it’s one of the first times in a long time that the entire board has been near the main stage to do this! I was excited and of course, we had to capture it with a selfie! Board member, Dulce Rivera was quick to grab her phone and we all posed on stage…our faces beaming despite the exhaustion from the events of the day. That photo is probably one of my all-time favorite photos of Fiesta and our board.
I always say…the best way to tell the Fiesta story every year is from my photos. So besides those I’ve already shown you throughout this post, here are a few more of my Fiesta 2019 favorites.