The first-ever Fiesta Fairfax Festival occurs Saturday at The PARC in Tysons Corner. The festival will be a time for the community to learn more about the many Hispanic traditions Americans celebrate.
“Fairfax Fiesta promises an extraordinary experience for all ages and backgrounds,” said Karol Escalante, Fairfax County director of immigrant community affairs. “Community members will be able to immerse in an unforgettable celebration that highlights Hispanic culture and embraces the diversity of our community! Delight in captivating cultural performances and entertainment that will leave you inspired. Explore an enchanting artisan market showcasing exceptional handmade goods from talented local vendors. Engage your little ones with exciting children’s activities designed to spark their curiosity and creativity. And, of course, indulge your taste buds with mouthwatering traditional foods!”
The festival will have both a main stage and an interactive stage. The main stage will be for entertainment. Dance troupes like Ballet Folklorico Boliviano Nuestras Raices and Grupo Folklorico Raices Hondurenas will perform. The stage will also feature Venezuelan American singer and songwriter Jonathan Acosta, “The New Voice of America.” Local television and radio host Francisco “El Chele” Gonzalez will be on hand to keep the festivities moving.
At the Interactive Stage, representatives from the Fairfax County Library will read books by Hispanic authors Lucky Diaz and Angela Dominguez. Most of the day will be dedicated to dance and learning new moves from Marimba Maya Awa, Sentimeiento Peruano USA, Grupo Folklorico Raices Hondurenas, and the Leones de Oro Latin Dance Team. There will also be a one-hour “Learn to Zumba” session with Jenny Lopez. This will be an indoor and outdoor event. Both stages will be outdoors.
There will be plenty of activities geared toward the younger crowd too. Second Story will be on hand for balloons and face-painting. T-Mobile will be handing out “passports” for families to travel around the festival learning about various countries, potentially winning prizes as they get their passport “stamped.” There will also be an interactive art project where festival goers can create sculptures with a Hispanic theme.
Festival timing is perfect as it coincides with National Hispanic Heritage Month, which began on Sept. 15 and lasts through Oct. 15. The mid-month beginning was chosen to commemorate the day that several Central American countries, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, celebrate their National Independence days. In contrast, Chile and Mexico celebrate their independence a few days later.
“Considering the large Hispanic community in Fairfax County, we decided that this year it was important to put together a robust celebration where community members can learn about the rich diversity of the vibrant Hispanic culture,” said Escalante. “This inaugural event organized by the Fairfax Fiesta Committee and Celebrate Fairfax promises a day filled with music, dance, authentic cuisine, engaging and educational activities, and so much more.”
The PARC is the brightly muraled building on Route 7 that used to be the old Container Store. PARC is an acronym for the virtues it values, People, Art, Recreation, and Community. The building is an extension of Celebrate Fairfax, whose offices are housed inside. Fiesta Fairfax fits with Celebrate Fairfax’s goal of building community through diverse events at the space.
The festival takes place Sept. 23, noon to 5 p.m. The PARC is located at 8508 Leesburg Pike in Tysons. Fiesta Fairfax is free for everyone, but anyone wishing to purchase food or shop with vendors should be prepared to pay. There is no parking at the festival site. There will be free event parking available at 8500 Leesburg Pike. Another option for festival goers is to take the Metro. The closest metro stop is Spring Hill Metro, about a three-block walk.