Fiesta, Alabama’s largest celebration of Hispanic culture and heritage, turns 16 this year

with a musical and cultural event in Linn Park on September 29, noon to 8 p.m.

Every year, the festival gives Alabamians a unique opportunity to experience the best of Latin America in their own backyard. Fiesta features two music stages, authentic Latin food vendors, a cultural village, a community village, children’s activities, a health and wellness village and more. The Coca-Cola mainstage lineup of Hispanic artists performing at Fiesta 2018 will be announced closer to the festival. Guests can also explore the McDonald’s Fiesta Tour, the Annual Latin Grammy Experience, and a traveling 50-plus foot exhibit that pays tribute to a passion for Latin music. The Fiesta Tour features trivia games, a photo booth, artist memorabilia, listening stations, social media wall and product sampling.

“Fiesta has become a beloved tradition—an opportunity for us to share our rich heritage with each other and with our fellow Alabamians,” says Vanessa Vargas, president of Fiesta. “All of us in the Hispanic community embrace a deep, abiding pride for our countries and our cultures. And as we passionately share our stories and celebrate both our similarities and our differences, we continue to weave ourselves more intricately into the Birmingham community and the communities where we live.”

Part of Fiesta’s goal as a festival and as an organization has always been to provide Hispanic students with scholarships to help them further their education in Alabama. In the last 15 years, Fiesta has awarded more than $70,000 in scholarships to deserving Hispanic students. Guests can and are encouraged to donate to the scholarship fund when purchasing tickets.

For more information about the festival, visit Tickets are on sale now for $10 each and can be purchased both online in advance and at the gate on the day of the festival. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult.

Voices of Fiesta

Vanessa Vargas, Fiesta President

Fiesta is about sharing that Spanish “sabor”—the characteristic, Latino flavor—with each other and with our neighbors. It’s an opportunity for me to share my Colombian identity with the Birmingham community, while also learning about the different customs and cultures of my fellow Latinos.

Fiesta is like a big party with a big family. There is no such thing as a stranger—each person in attendance is an important part of the festival. Whether catching up with old friends or meeting new ones that are quickly welcomed into our Fiesta family—the interactions and relationships that happen through Fiesta are priceless.

I have been participating in Fiesta since I was 12 years old. Over the years, my reasons for participating in Fiesta have changed and shifted. Initially, I was in it for the action—getting to play soccer and interact with other kids! I have many fond memories of playing soccer for hours with kids from all different backgrounds and ethnic groups. It was a blast to play together as a team regardless of our similarities or differences.

As a young adult, my love for Fiesta became more about a growing appreciation for other people’s culture, food and music. I love looking out from the stage every year and seeing all the different flags being waved above the crowd, the painted faces and the children on their parents’ shoulders enjoying the music. The sense of unity is tangible and moving.

Maria Soto

Maria Soto, Fiesta attendee

(Translated from Spanish)

I have been attending Fiesta since it began—I haven’t missed a single year! After a few years of attending, I got involved and participate in the Mexico booth in the Cultural Village. For me, Fiesta means an opportunity to share the background and culture of our people with my son, to share the importance of our roots. I think Fiesta is such an important event because it brings everyone together as one, and for a few hours, I don’t miss my beautiful, dear Mexico quite so much. Each year has been special, but I have to say that Fiesta 2007 was one of my favorites. A group of friends and I performed a play that everyone loved!

Larry Gay, Fiesta attendee and photographer

Larry Gay

Fiesta means so much. I try to attend every year that I can. I love the arts, food, dancing, music, the family atmosphere, but most of all, I love the diversity. I learn quite a bit about the culture, and it is always a friendly atmosphere. Every year is a little different, but my best memories come from interaction with the crowd, the musicians and the families.

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