This is the first of a two-part post about #30 Days of Fiesta 2020 and how the Fiesta Board was able to create memorable virtual events for our community.
How do you have Alabama’s largest Hispanic culture and heritage festival during a worldwide pandemic? That’s the question the Fiesta board was asking ourselves on April 20, 2020, during our first virtual board meeting.
We had already met on February 1st for our usual event review and strategy session. Looking back on those notes, I remember the energy in the room that Saturday morning and how excited everyone was to share their ideas for our 18th year. That day, we were even looking ahead to our 20th anniversary celebration in 2022. We had also settled on a theme for the year – Celebrating in Unity / Celebrando Unidos – to coincide with the 2020 World Games that were set to happen in Birmingham this year.
By April, with the pandemic in full swing, a number of spring events had already begun postponing until the fall. Our event planner, Denise Koch manages many of the area’s largest events so she was well versed in what was happening and the concerns out there. Of course, with the state-wide order to limit the number of people gathering, among other precautions, that pretty much took care of having anything for a while! The fall looked somewhat promising but we still had concerns. So, at our April board meeting we decided to keep a watch on how things were progressing and make a final decision – go or no go – at our June board meeting. Even then, we knew we would have to make some changes to keep our patrons safe. Board members were all coming up with alternative ideas to have Fiesta so we all agreed to submit them for discussion in June.
The discussion was pretty lively at our June meeting! So many great suggestions were shared and we dissected them every which way to see what fit Fiesta the best. The one main decision though was to not have a live event on September 26 as we had hoped. There was just too much risk and even those events that had rescheduled to fall were cancelling again.
Fiesta 2020 was set to be something we never dreamed it could be! We decided to plan virtual events for 30 days during Hispanic Heritage Month which began September 15 and ended on October 15. Our theme changed to #30DaysofFiesta at this point and boy did we ever “Fiesta!” Fiesta 2020 would also prove to be a quite a learning experience for us all in terms of developing new skills and working in a virtual world. As my husband continued to remind me throughout the 30 days…ya’ll took a one-day event and created 30+ events, so this will be a lot of work. He was certainly right about that!
Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of #30 Days of Fiesta where I share details of the virtual events, we were able to provide in lieu of a live event in Linn Park, Alabama.