Fiesta Mexicana rebrands as Fiesta Topeka to mark 90th anniversary
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Fiesta Mexicana is embracing its history and its connection with the community at large by rebranding as Fiesta Topeka.
Organizers made the announcement Wednesday as the festival prepares to celebrate its 90th year. It takes place in July on the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church grounds, NE Chandler and Atchison streets in Topeka’s Oakland neighborhood.
Even with the fiesta itself still nearly four months away, volunteers already were busy in the kitchen as Wednesday’s news conference was taking place, beginning preparations for the traditional tamales, tacos, burritos and other food items that will be on the menu.
Fiesta committee chairperson Deborah Ortega said the theme for the event is “A Legacy of Pride, Passion and Culture.” She said several younger people joined this year’s committee, and brought renewed energy for not only sharing the area’s history, but also looking toward the future.
“This event really is about sharing our culture,” Ortega said. “It’s about families reuniting, friends reuniting. The benefit of all of that is raising the money for Holy Family School, so, in the end, it’s for education and supporting our young people.”
The Fiesta returns with a full schedule post-pandemic, including a 5K run/walk, golf, corn hole and pickleball tournaments, carnival, and five nights of entertainment and food sales on the church grounds. The 2022 Fiesta added kickoff event at Evergy Plaza in downtown Topeka, but reduced the schedule to three nights with no carnival. In 2020 and 2021, the Fiesta was limited to food sales only, held at various times in the summer.
Wednesday’s kickoff news conference recognized presenting sponsors, who’ll be represented by honorary co-chairs. Those include Joseph Lehan of Frito Lay, Jeff Adair of Reser’s Fine Foods, Sarah Ruiz Chavez of Ingenuity, and Melissa Brunner of WIBW-TV.
Topeka Mayor Mike Padilla spoke with fondness of growing up in the Oakland neighborhood and as a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, where the fiesta overflowed into their yard. He said he is proud to celebrate the history and tradition of the festival with the community.
Visit Topeka’s Sean Dixon said Fiesta Topeka is among events that draws people to the community. An estimated 50,000 people from across Topeka, Kansas, and the nation are expected to attend.
Ballet de Folklorico de Topeka provided entertainment at Wednesday’s event. Food sales by Fiesta royalty candidates are expected to begin in April.
Fiesta Topeka benefits Holy Family School, which is the combined grade school for Our Lady of Guadalupe and Sacred Heart parishes.
2023 Fiesta Topeka Schedule (more information at https://fiestatopeka.com/)
July 8: Kickoff event at Evergy Plaza
July 8: 5K Run/Walk
July 15: Fiesta Parade, downtown Topeka
July 15: Coronation ball
July 18-22: Fiesta Topeka Festival, Our Lady of Guadalupe grounds
July 18-11: Art show
July 21: Golf tournament
July 22: Cornhole tournament
July 29-30: Pickleball tournament
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