by Lorie Lewis Ham
It’s that time of year again, time for Reedley’s biggest event of the year-the Reedley Fiesta! Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Erik Valencia took a moment out of his preparations to chat with us about this year’s event, which takes place on October 10-12.
KRL: What is the theme of the Fiesta this year?
Erik: Paint the Town!
KRL: How do you choose a theme?
Erik: The committee gets together in June and starts throwing ideas around. Although there are no set rules, we do tend to produce ideas that celebrate Reedley, and we try to select something that will allow creativity for the Children’s Art Show and parade entries. From a list of about 40 initial ideas, we discuss, and we start to narrow them down through a few rounds of voting. This year, the community rallied around the new downtown mural and public art in general, so the committee thought why not have a theme that celebrates this. Hence, “Paint the Town!” This theme has also been very fitting as since we announced it, the City of Reedley held it first Art Hop event and has begun a fundraising campaign to paint more murals in town.
KRL: What all goes into the planning?
Erik: A lot! Selecting a theme, finding sponsors to help us fund the event, coordinating with all the city departments (police, public works, etc.), coordinating with Rotary Club for the Parade & Grand Marshal, Coordinating with Lions Club for the Fiesta King & Queen, finding food, craft, and retail vendors for the park and then coordinating with them for set up, planning out the park layout, working with the health department for the food vendors, working with ABC for alcohol licensing for the Beer & Wine Garden, finding entertainment and coordinating light/sound technician for the bandshell, working on advertising/marketing (videos, social media, posters, gathering information and pictures for print media), coordinating with the frog jump team, and coordinating the many other volunteers that help make this event possible.
KRL: Who is the Grand Marshall of this year’s parade?
Erik: Reedley Rotary has selected Susan Lusk to be this year’s Grand Marshal. Susan, a former KCUSD Teacher, and her family run the Joe F. Lusk II Memorial Foundation, which helps bridge the gap between the financial support the government can provide wounded veterans and the reality of their needs.
KRL: For those who may never have attended a Reedley Fiesta, what all will be taking place over that weekend?
Erik: The Fiesta celebration begins with the Fire Department Open House on the evening of Thursday, October 10. Friday morning, October 11, the day begins with the Annual Diaper Derby at Sierra View Homes. Registration begins at 9:45 a.m. and Race at 10 a.m. Later that day, Food, Craft, Retail, and Information Booths are open at Pioneer Park from 4 to 10 p.m. On Pointe Dance Company will perform on the Bandshell Stage at 5:30 p.m. The Fiesta King & Queen Coronation will occur at 6:45 p.m. followed by an awesome band called Without a Doubt playing until 10 p.m. On Saturday, things kick off with River City Theater Company’s Fiesta Pancake Breakfast at the Reedley Opera House from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. The Mechanics Bank Fiesta Run/Walk starts at 7 a.m. followed by the Fiesta Parade at 10 a.m. The Frog Jump Contest will be held on G Street in front of the Police Department from 12 to 2 p.m. Following that is the Student Talent Show at 2 p.m. on the Bandshell Stage. The event concludes at 4 p.m.
KRL: Is there anything special that Ribberto is doing this year to help promote the Fiesta or at the Fiesta?
Erik: Ribberto has a new “Artist” outfit for the occasion, along with a paint bucket and paintbrush in hand. He’s been having fun spreading the word around town about this year’s event and theme. He has also made two promotional videos for the event (visit our Facebook page) one featuring local resident and ABC 30 News Anchor Tony Cabrera and Reedley Chief of Police Joe Garza. He will also ride in the Fiesta Parade along with his buddy, Reedley Citizen of the Year Danny Jimenez.
KRL: Will there be anything different this year?
Erik: This year sees the return of the Fiesta Pancake Breakfast. This year it will be held on Saturday morning before the parade at the Reedley Opera House and will be a fundraiser for Reedley’s River City Theater Company. A ticket includes pancakes, sausage, and coffee. Juice will be available. Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at the Chamber office, 1633 11th Street (cash or check payable to Reedley River City Theatre Company, only). The start and end of the Mechanics Bank Fiesta Run/Walk will move from 11th & G to 10th & G streets. This brings the crowd closer to the park and the pancake breakfast and is a great backdrop with the Opera House and Water Towers in the background. For the first time, The Wakehouse will be hosting the Beer & Wine Garden at Pioneer Park. One of the biggest additions this year is our Student Talent Show, which will be held on the Bandshell Stage at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Participants were selected through open auditions held on Monday, September 23, which were open to Kings Canyon Unified School District, Immanuel Schools and St. La Salle School students in grades 3rd through 12th grade.
KRL: Can you name a few of the booths we will see at the park this year?
Erik: There will be over 40 booths, 18 of those are food vendors. We will have tri-tip sandwiches, Japanese food, Frito boats, corn dogs, corn bowls, kettle corn, tacos, pizza, fruit cups, cotton candy, snow cones, and more. There will also be a beer and wine garden hosted by The Wakehouse located near the center of the park.
KRL: Anything else you would like to add?
Erik: Growing up in Reedley, this event made a positive impact on my life and I hope it continues to make a positive impact for Reedley families today. A lot of people put in a lot of work behind the scenes to make this event happen and I am thankful for all of them. We hope to see you at Fiesta!
You can find many more Reedley articles in our Reedley News category, including two more in this week’s issue!