OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — More than 1,000 people gathered Saturday in the Historic Capitol Hill District around noon to see the Fiestas de las Americas famous multicultural parade.
One of the biggest celebrations on the southside of Oklahoma City every year, the parade features Guatemalans, Panamanians, Colombians, Mexicans, Venezuelans, and representatives of other Latin American cultures.
It is the high point of Hispanic Heritage Month celebrating the Hispanic community’s cultural contributions in the U.S. and Oklahoma City.
Las Fiestas de las Americas started in 2006 and has gained momentum ever since. Last year’s event went virtual due to the pandemic, making a strong comeback in 2021.
Previous Fiestas coverage: Fiestas de las Americas touches southside hearts
The parade consisted of more than 50 groups showcasing different countries, cultures, and groups from low riding cars and horseback riders to different Latin American floats and dancers.
Different schools, churches, and businesses participated in the parade as well.
The parade was only the beginning of the festival that ran until 8 p.m. Las Fiestas de las Americas had an artisan market, an artist alley, the main stage, a cultural stage, food trucks, games for kids, and various sponsor and business pop-ups. The OKC County Health Department was also offering vaccinations inside of the Yale theater.
“Las Fiestas de las Americas is important because we get to showcase the Latin American and Hispanic cultures to everyone in Oklahoma City. It’s a really easy way to get connected to the culture, learn a bit more, and support their businesses,” event coordinator Erick Herrera told Free Press.
Marisol DuHame danced with the Panamanian Society group and has been part of the festival for more than 7 years. She dressed up in a Panamanian carnival dress to showcase a part of her culture that is rarely experienced in Oklahoma.
“Us Panamanians are very expressive and full of joy and we like people to know more about us and where we come from. We continue to pass on our heritage to our children and grandchildren through events like this and for me it’s very important to keep our roots and heritage alive,” DuHane told Free Press.
Juana Lugo, originally from Zacatecas, Mexico, has lived in OKC for more than 40 years. She has attended the event multiple times before but Las Fiestas de las Americas 2021 meant something much bigger than usual. For the first time in her life, Lugo called herself an artist, opened up a pop-up tent in the artist alley, and showcased her work. Before, Lugo has kept her works private because she thought people would not be interested.
“I feel like a lot of Latin Americans are very artistic but many stay in the shadows and that is why I think we should do more events like this. There are plenty of artists in the Hispanic community and the networking and collaboration that happens at these events is something we need more of,” Lugo told us.
Anahi Figueroa and her sister Lidia Angeles were born in South OKC. Their parents Abel and Angelina are originally from Michoacan and have owned a snow cone business in the south side of the city for more than 20 years. During the festival, the sisters decided to bring their respective kids and expose them to the Hispanic community that lives in OKC.
“We like to go every year because this is an event that unites the Hispanic community and we want to show our children our Hispanic roots so they can be proud of where they come from and learn more about our origins,” Figueroa said.
Click on any photo to see larger versions of all photos.
Last Updated October 2, 2021, 9:57 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor