By Lynzi Stringer
The aromas of sweet churros and savory elotes – corn on the cob topped with mayonnaise and lime, dance through the hot, humid mid-September air. Nearby children scream, hitting a piñata with all their might, hoping to find candy and prizes showering down onto their heads. Meanwhile, the DJ at one of the two large stages holds a dance contest, calling the best dancers on stage to show what they’ve got! The other stage holds live music with beautiful, traditional dancing from different regions of Latin America, such as salsa and samba.
La Plaza’s Fiesta Indianapolis brings a little bit of everything to the table.
Starting in 1980, Fiesta Indianapolis, located in Indy’s La Plaza, has worked to bring people together to celebrate the diverse Latino Culture in Indiana.
Festival-goers had the opportunity to see Latin
According to the La Plaza website, over 15,000 Hoosiers join in on the annual festivities every third Saturday of September. This coincides with the anniversary of Mexico’s Independence Day. La Plaza’s mission and vision are to strengthen Central Indiana by advocating and preparing Latino students for educational success, and to reach their full potential.
Amongst the countless food trucks, and mercado-style tables filled with traditional clothing, jewelry and musical instruments, there were many tables for community service projects, and nonprofit organizations.
One organization at Fiesta Indianapolis is called Jonah’s Labyrinth.
Jonah’s Labyrinth is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information, recourses, and aides, like support groups, for children and their families affected by autism in the Hispanic community. The founder of Jonah’s Labyrinth, Monica Pena-Perez, found out her son Jonah had autism when he was a toddler. Being a nonnative English speaker from Mexico, Pena-Perez quickly realized the struggles she must be prepared to face in order to get her son all the help she could.
The personal struggles that Pena-Perez faced are what touched her and inspired her to start Jonah’s Labyrinth.
Jonah’s Labyrinth’s table was just one of the many booths around the festival, visited by thousands.
The love of culture, food, and other community members are just some of the things that make the Latino culture so unique.
As the sun began setting on the festivities, the music winded down on both stages, and the tables and stands started putting away their unsold goods. The faint aromas lingered in the air as strangers passing by waved goodbye to each other. Another successful year at Fiesta Indianapolis!