15th Anniversary Quinceañera Celebration!
Fiesta, Alabama’s largest celebration of Hispanic culture and heritage, is pleased to announce its 15th annual festival to take place Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, from noon to 8 p.m. at Birmingham’s Linn Park. Admission to Fiesta is $8 per person in advance and $15 at the gate. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free. Donations to the scholarship fund at Fiesta are also encouraged at the event.
Since its inception in 2003, Fiesta has served as a bridge, celebrating the culturally diverse traditions of Latin America’s various Spanish-speaking countries right here in Birmingham. With the goal of educating the public about the many different Hispanic countries and their cultures, Fiesta provides the opportunity for more than 15,000 patrons to journey through 20 represented countries and experience the best of Hispanic art, music, food and dance.
With this being Fiesta’s 15th year, 2017 marks an important milestone for the festival—Fiesta’s Quinceañera. In Latin American culture, a young girl’s 15th birthday, or her quinceañera, is one of the biggest, most important celebrations in Hispanic tradition and involves the whole family. In traditional, quinceañera fashion, this year’s festival is themed “A Celebration of Generations” as Fiesta celebrates its 15th anniversary with the community and the entire Fiesta family.
Over the course of its 15-year history, Fiesta has proven to be an excellent resource for our Hispanic community. The festival provides family-friendly fun for the entire family. While the largest crowd can be found in front of the main music stage, Fiesta offers a wide assortment of activities, from storytelling to wrestling exhibitions. Music, dance, performing arts, visual arts, children’s activities, soccer, cultural education, authentic Latin food as well as community and health-related resources are all part of the event.
Additionally, not-for-profit organizations attend Fiesta to educate attendees about the benefits and resources they offer. Businesses will also be on hand to enlighten attendees about their many goods, services and employment opportunities. The Health & Wellness Village will work to assess the community’s medical needs and provide educational materials and professional assistance.
Fiesta gives Alabamians a unique opportunity to experience the best of Latin American countries in their own backyard! It showcases that Birmingham is a community that encourages multiculturalism, sensitivity and acceptance.
When most people are asked to use one word to describe the Latino culture, they typically say “colorful.” That is a common thread that weaves itself through the many Spanish speaking countries of the world. However, what many people perceive as one culture is in fact many. Latino people are proud of their countries, which are unique and rich in culture, and they are eager to share their customs and traditions with others.
In late 2001, the members of the Hispanic Business Council (HBC) of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce put in motion a plan to develop a yearly Hispanic festival in downtown Birmingham. Aware of their own diverse makeup within the council and with the knowledge that the Hispanic population was growing tremendously in Alabama, they felt it would be an ideal way to showcase the best their countries have to offer. The City of Birmingham, with its own diverse history, seemed like the ideal place to host such an event. The rest, as they say, is history!
In 2002, Fiesta, Inc., was created as a not-for-profit organization whose board of directors would host the annual event with the help of interested community volunteers. Fiesta, Inc., is considered a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. The Fiesta Board is currently made up of Hispanic and non-Hispanic professionals from across the Birmingham metro area, including Teresa Zúñiga Odom, Vanessa Vargas, Luis Fernandez, Orlando Rosa, Ashlee Jones, Cristina Almanza, Matt Ennis, Chris Miller, Floresha Boyd and Dr. Carlos Alemán.
The mission of Fiesta is “to organize and manage a yearly festival that celebrates and educates the public on the diverse cultures within the Hispanic community in Alabama.” Year after year, this mission continues to be fulfilled!
Fiesta seeks “to educate the mainstream public about the many different Hispanic countries and cultures through the best of art, music, dance and food.” Simply stated, Hispanic music is more than Ricky Martin “Living La Vida Loca.” The food is more than tacos with salsa. The dance is more than a Mexican Hat Dance. And the history is surprising to many.
Hispanics aren’t really newcomers to this country. In fact, Hispanics arrived in this country more than 500 years ago on the shores of America. It is up to the Hispanics in Alabama to passionately tell our stories and share our rich cultures and traditions with Alabamians of all ages. And while sharing our stories, it allows us to learn even more about ourselves and how we can best weave ourselves into the communities where we live. What better way to do this than through an event like Fiesta!
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 14 years, Fiesta has awarded more than $70,000 in scholarships to deserving Hispanic students. This year, through the Arte Latino Scholarship and the Logros Latino Scholarships, the Fiesta Board will award a total of $6,500 to five recipients and three runner-up recipients.
Our Milestone Year
¡Feliz Quinceañera! This year will celebrate Fiesta’s 15th Annual Event. In honor of this milestone year, Fiesta Board members both past and present, sponsors, VIPs and city leaders kicked off the 2017 festivities with the unveiling of the event’s 15th anniversary logo.
It has become a tradition for Fiesta to introduce a new, refreshed logo every five years. This year as the logo evolved again for Fiesta’s quince, the Board sought a design that would take the festival’s identity to a new level. Just as a young girl’s quinceañera represents her transition from childhood to adulthood, we feel this milestone year is, for our festival, a bridge to a new level of maturity. The vision was for each aspect of the design to come together and communicate a “Celebration of Generations,” the theme for this year’s Fiesta.
The final design is both eye-catchingly bold and elegantly beautiful. The dynamic, new logo sings with the harmony of both old and new, representing Fiesta’s storied history while allowing for growth and maturity, as we embark on the next five, 10 and even 15 years.
We want each member of our Fiesta family to be able to see a bit of themselves in the logo. We hope that people will identify with some piece of its symbolism, as it serves as an artistic representation of Latin America’s numerous, unique cultures and of Fiestas both past, present and future.
The success of Fiesta continues to grow and evolve because the community continues to embrace this event as its own and has done so since its inception. As in past years, Fiesta will continue to showcase what the Birmingham region can provide to its community in terms of multiculturalism, sensitivity and acceptance. All cultures will be celebrated, and patrons will leave Fiesta with a rich appreciation of our Latino neighbors.