Locals enjoy annual Community Mexican Fiesta
By ANGIE HAFLICH
The Garcia family of Garden City has attended Garden City's Community Mexican Fiesta since it started.
"My parents were here when they used to have it in their backyards. It started in backyards and then, after it got bigger, it moved to Clint Lightner field," Mona Garcia said.
Garcia was with her sisters, Josie Mancha and Virginia Garcia, both of Garden City, at Stevens Park Saturday morning for this year's Fiesta celebration following the Fiesta Parade.
The sisters' parents immigrated to Garden City in 1920 or 1921, Garcia said.
"This was the thing you looked forward to, Mexican Fiesta. Our parents would work out in the fields all summer," she said, adding that this was an end of the summer tradition in their family.
After being held at Clint Lightner field, Garcia said the Fiesta Celebration was held near the tennis courts in Finnup Park.
"I know one thing we always had was a high school band and that would lead you clear on in there," Garcia said, adding that a dance was held on the tennis courts across from the Big Pool back then.
"The dance was right outside under the stars," Mancha said.
Nowadays, cars line all of the streets surrounding Stevens Park, as younger generations experience the celebration, in some cases, for the first time.
Aliana Gonzales, Garden City, and her daughter, three-year-old, Mya Gonzales, and four-year-old son, Xavier Gonzales, made their way to the park following the parade.
"I see a parade and a cat," Mya said. "And horsies."
Xavier said he saw a bear and police in the parade. When asked if he was able to get any free candy during the parade, he said, "Yeah. Mya ate it."
Ten-year-old Sylvia Garcia was enjoying an elote, corn on the cob with mayonaise and parmesan cheese on it.
She was at the Fiesta Celebration with her mother Maribel Garcia and little sister, six-year-old Cecilia Garcia, all of Garden City.
Maribel Garcia said the family attends the event every year.
"It seems every year it gets bigger and bigger and then with them announcing it on the radio, I think more people know about it," Maribel Garcia said.
Olivia Garcia and her daughter, eight-year-old Arianna Garcia, who were standing in line, also attend the event every year.
"She wanted a funnel cake," Olivia Garcia said.
Arianna said her favorite thing about the Fiesta is the free candy thrown to the kids at the parade, while Olivia Garcia said her favorite thing about it is the gathering of the community.
"Just seeing everyone get together is nice. We don't see it often enough," she said.
In addition to the sweets, traditional Mexican food also was served, as the live music performed by Mariachi Real De Oro, El Son Lagunero and El Emperador, filled the air and folkloric dancers took the stage.
The event has included a parade each year since 1928, a Fiesta Queen crowning since 1929 and a scholarship pageant connected to the crowning that is marking its ninth anniversary.
The scholarship pageant took place Friday night in the auditorium of the Pauline Joyce Fine Arts building. This year's queen, 18-year-old Madison Miller, made an appearance in both the parade and at the celebration at Stevens Park.
This year's theme for the fiesta was "Dejando Huellas" — "Leaving Footprints."
The annual event is a celebration of Mexican Independence Day, which Fiesta President Angelica Castillo-Chappel said is based on a cry for freedom, known as "el grito," that went out across Mexico in 1810, sparking a war for independence from Spain.
The official Mexican Independence Day is celebrated nationally and in Mexico on Sept. 16. Other Latino countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrate the day on Sept. 15 and Chile celebrates it on Sept. 18.