After scare, contributions help push Fiesta at the Park into next decade

The Watertown organization dedicated to promoting positive cross-cultural attitudes, hosted its annual Fiesta at the Park for its 10th year this past May, however the fiesta's future was up in the air.

The small but dedicated group of about 10 people, headed by President Sam Galaviz and Vice President Colleen Harrington, had thoughts that this year would be a good time to stop but were reinvigorated by the fiesta's participation and have decided to continue the tradition for at least another year.

"We had thought that 10 years was maybe the best time to stop, but the 10th came off so well," Harrington said of this year's event. "We were so pleased and had some nice compliments ... so we thought we should keep it going."

Galaviz, who took over operations for the event in 2010, wanted the event to be an opportunity for cultures to learn more about each other and connect. The participation and interest from the community is what pushed Galaviz to have the fiesta again in 2020.

"It's amazing," Galaviz said of the community's interest in the event. "It gives me energy to want to continue the event."

The most difficult issue for the fiesta's future was the ability to secure volunteers. The organization has always struggled with getting enough to run the event successfully, according to Harrington.

"That's always been a hurdle," Harrington said.

Although finding enough volunteers has been hard, the group was aided by contributions from local firms. Two businesses that helped push the fiesta forward were Johnsonville Sausage and Fort Community Credit Union.

Johnsonville aided the group with a sponsorship that helped to fund the fiesta's face painter and decorations while Fort Community provided numerous volunteers that the event craved. Harrington gave kudos to both companies and knows that keeping these relationships will be crucial to the event's future success.

"I want to keep that going on our end," Harrington said of the group's sponsorships. "It helps so much with all those volunteers."

Each year, the group tries to introduce something new to keep the fiesta fresh. This year, the group had face painting and tortilla making. Next year the group is hoping to add an American band to play and to sponsor a walkathon at the event to benefit a charity, according to Galaviz. They also hope to introduce more Colombian culture for next year, said Galaviz.

"Nothing wrong with inviting other cultures," Galaviz said.

Entering another decade, the group's main focus remains on bringing people and cultures together and to learn more about each other.

"I want people to think of the culture," Harrington said of the fiesta's goal, "not just tacos and margaritas."

Anyone interested in volunteering for next year's event may send an email to the group at Info@fiestacultural.org or on their website at www.fiestacultural.org/volunteers.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.