A Celebration of Generations…that’s what Fiesta 2017, the Quinceañera, was billed as and it definitely delivered!
Planning Fiesta has turned into a year-round job for our board of directors and our incredible event manager, Denise Koch. In recent years, we’ve begun the planning process in November instead of waiting until February. As the festival grows, this is a must in order to stay ahead of the game and also make sure we are offering our patrons new and exciting additions to the event each year. We are a working board but everyone also has a day job too so…
During our anniversary years in the past, the board had a new logo created in celebration and we’ve looked for significant ways to make Fiesta more exciting. Our 15th anniversary – Quinceañera – was quite a milestone so we really wanted to ramp thing up! It was a coming of age of our festival! Last November, the board decided that during our anniversary years, it would be beneficial to have co-presidents at the helm in order to share the work load. Board member, Vanessa Vargas and I were voted in as co-Presidents which lent itself nicely to our theme – with Vanessa representing the younger generation – the daughter, and me representing the older generation – the mother. The next month, over lunch with board member Lui Fernandez, the Fiesta theme was born which cemented our charge for Fiesta 2017 – “a celebration of generations!” I remember getting goose bumps when Lui explained his ideas for the year and threw out the tagline! Vanessa and I were so excited and ready to assume our roles as “Fiesta Mother and Daughter!”
Looking back on Fiesta 2017 and our path to Quince…I have to say…it was our best festival to date! Every quadrant of Linn Park was filled and we had well over 100 tents in the park – a record for us. Park Place, the road running on one side of the park, was also filled with the presence of the McDonalds Fiesta Tour which had rebranded and looked amazing! McDonalds, our Title Sponsor, was also handing out slushie samples and I heard they ran out! That’s a lot of people drinking slushies!!!
The weather was gorgeous all day long and I once again loved going from booth to booth to photograph friends – old and new – and thank them for being a part of Fiesta’s Quince! This year I had Vanessa with me for most of the visits and loved having that experience with her. I also really can’t remember a time when we had as much pre-publicity for our event! Vanessa and I were booked on every station and one radio station leading up to the event. At one point during the festival, Vanessa and I had “dueling TV interviews” going on in the VIP section! Vane was talking to CBS and I was talking to NBC. We always had a great time with Claire Per-Lee of Style Advertising (Fiesta’s Advertising Agency) at each interview and she always photographed and videoed so we could have that memory. She made each appearance so easy for us complete with talking points and props needed for the interview. Claire, Vanessa and I were in such constant contact in the weeks leading up to Fiesta that it’s a little weird not getting several text messages a day from each other now!
Everywhere I looked at this year, sponsors and nonprofits were doing a great job of reaching patrons and drawing them in. Swag from these booths was over the top! There was just SO much activity all over the park that it was hard to catch it all. That’s when I know we’ve hit a home run! We always throw sponsor items from the stage, but this year we really ramped it up and the crowd loved it! We’ve done this before but not to this level.
Volunteers…I can’t say enough about volunteers in general. They can make or break your event. It you’ve been involved with events, you know this. For Fiesta though, we’ve always been fortunate to have wonderful volunteers who have the spirit of the event at heart. This year I wasn’t able to secure a volunteer coordinator for this festival so I took on the task myself. And I was a little worried, I have to admit…especially with all the other responsibilities I had leading into Fiesta. That is…until I got a message from a Spanish teacher Charity Jackson at Parker High School. She said she had about 15-20 students who wanted to volunteer! I was ecstatic!!! And then she contacted me and said she had more students who wanted to volunteer! By the time I had the volunteer schedule pulled together two days before the event, she had 35 students committed to working at Fiesta! Ms. Jackson kept thanking me for having them at Fiesta but I told her several time that she really saved “me” by having her students there. They were incredible…and so was she!
There are so many more stories about Fiesta 2017 that I could tell…but as I have done in the past, I think it’s best shown in photos. If you came out to Fiesta, thank you…from the bottom of my heart for sharing our Quince with us! If you weren’t able to be there…for whatever reason, I hope you enjoy a walk through our Quince in these photos!