Community Mexican Fiesta begins Friday

Young dancers perform at the 1991 Fiesta. Photo courtesy Finney County Historical Museum.

The 91st annual Community Mexican Fiesta gets underway Friday and Saturday with the theme, “Somos Un Pueblo” — “We Are One Town.”

The event, taking place annually since 1926, observes the Mexican Independence Day, is celebrated across the U.S. and has included a parade each year in Garden City since 1928, a fiesta queen crowning that has taken place annually since 1929, and a scholarship pageant connected to the crowning that is marking its 13th anniversary.

The celebration is based on a cry for freedom on Sept. 16, 1810, known as “el grito,” and attributed to Father Miguel Hidalgo in the village of Dolores, near Guanajuato. Hidalgo called for equal rights, land redistribution, abolition of slavery and Mexican independence from Spain. Today, that cry is celebrated on or near the date of Sept. 16 by millions of people in Mexico, as well as the U.S.

The 13th annual Fiesta Scholarship Pageant begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Pauline Joyce Auditorium at Garden City Community College. The winner automatically qualifies for the Miss Kansas Pageant and receive a $1,000 scholarship. Runners-up will be awarded scholarships of $500 and $250, respectively, that may be used at any accredited college of the recipient’s choice. Five are scheduled to compete in the pageant.

The Fiesta parade will start at 10 a.m. Saturday along Main Street in downtown Garden City. At 11 a.m. in Stevens Park, there will be an invocation, the national anthems of the United States and Mexico, and representatives of the Mexican Consulate in Kansas City will give the official “grito.”

Following the greeting, the celebration will continue in the park until 5 p.m., featuring a number of family-friendly activities, food featuring a variety of cuisine from many countries, live music and folkloric dancers.

For more information, visit www.gcfiesta.org, or contact Angelica Castillo Chappel, Fiesta Committee president, (620) 290-6264.