La Fiesta Mexicana taking place at Calder Plaza

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The 52nd annual Fiesta Mexicana kicked off Friday afternoon at Calder Plaza.

Organizers say it originally started off as something small and grew into a large way for them to showcase their culture to West Michigan.

The festival takes place Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“It’s just that opportunity that we have every year to really express what we are and who we are,” said Gabriella De La Vega, the president of the Mexican Heritage Association. “It’s just for the new generations, not only for them to learn about the music and the history, but for people who are coming to West Michigan to know that the presence of the Mexican community is really strong.”

There’s music, food, dancing and shopping, as well as art and activities for kids. 

Around 80 students from Ada Vista Elementary, a Spanish immersion school, visited the festival to get a first-hand look at cultural things they learn about in the classroom.   

“It’s very different when you experience it,” said Allison Woodside, the school’s principal. “So really just kind of bring them in and practice Spanish with people who are native speakers. Having them see how people interact, the dancing, the music.” 

De La Vega says thousands of people have attended the festival in the past and they’re hoping even more people come this year.

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