Garden City’s Community Mexican Fiesta is gearing up to celebrate its 92nd year Sept. 7 and 8, with the annual parade, activities in Stevens Park and scholarship pageant headlining the festivities.
The public is invited to attend the longest running annual local community celebration, which since 1926 has been recognizing the community’s Mexican heritage. The theme for this year’s Fiesta is “Sin Barreras — Nuestro Orgullo,” which means “Without Barriers — Our Pride.”
“People began immigrating to Garden City from Mexico at the dawn of the 20th century,” said Fiesta President Angelica Castillo Chappel. “The ethic of hard work, strong faith and devotion to family and community is something to be truly proud of. This has been passed down from generation to generation, just like the tradition of our community-wide Fiesta. We welcome everyone to join the celebration — no barriers.”
The Fiesta celebration is an observance of the Mexican Independence Day. Castillo Chappel said the Fiesta is based on a cry for freedom, known as “el grito,” on Sept. 16, 1810. The cry is attributed to Father Miguel Hidalgo, who lived in the village of Dolores near Guanajuato. He called for equal rights, land redistribution, abolition of slavery and Mexican independence from Spain. Today, the cry is celebrated on or near Sept. 16 by millions of people in Mexico and the U.S.
Some of the key events of the local celebration include:
• The Fiesta Scholarship Pageant is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 7, in the auditorium of the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building at Garden City Community College. The pageant will feature eight contestants competing for a $1,000 scholarship provided by Valley State Bank. Runner-up scholarships valued at $500, provided by Central Cup, and another for $250, provided by Lorena Montana of MBA Real Estate, will also be awarded.
Pageant contestants include Janisa Nuñez, 16; Marissa Hernandez, 17; Juliana Gallegos, 16; Hailey Sullivan, 19; Nyalee Duran, 16; Julieta Corpus Ochoa, 18; Alexis McGee, 16; and Alondra Deleon, 18.
The competition will be judged by Aaron Kucharik, Price and Sons Funeral Home; Dawn Oberheim, of D.O. Lashes; Dora Herrera of Community Corrections; Tyler Whitham, Western State Bank; and Medardo Muñoz, Tequilas Mexican Grill.
The pageant winner will qualify for an opportunity to participate in the Miss Kansas Pageant. Admission to the event is $1 per person at the door.
• The Fiesta parade will begin at 10 a.m. Sept. 8 and run north to south on Main Street.
• The Fiesta celebration in Stevens Park will start at 11 a.m. with an invocation, singing of the American and Mexican national anthems and the traditional “el grito” by representatives of the Mexican Consulate of Kansas City. Events in the park also will feature family-friendly activities, food and live music by Christian Valle, Son Lagunero and Resistencia Norteña, as well as Compañeros Mix DJ Services. Folkloric dancers also will provide entertainment.
For additional information about the Fiesta, contact Castillo Chappel at (620) 290-6264 or visit www.gcfiesta.org.