HOLLAND — Holland’s annual celebration of Latino heritage and cultures is returning after a two-year hiatus.
Organizers are hoping this year’s Fiesta, a day-long festival of music, dancing, food, kids’ activities and more, is the biggest yet.
Latin Americans United for Progress, the nonprofit that aims to serve the needs of Hispanic people in Holland, announced the details of the festival last week. All the staples of the festival — live music, traditional dancing, authentic cuisine — will be there, but in a major change for the Holland tradition, Fiesta will take place in July this year.
The event has traditionally been held the first weekend of May, around the time of Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican holiday that celebrates a Mexican military victory over the French Empire.
Fiesta began as a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Later, LAUP, the organization that puts on Fiesta, wanted to expand the festival to include all Latino cultures and heritages and renamed it Fiesta. The first weekend of Tulip Time has usually overlapped with Fiesta events.
LAUP moved its festivities from the Holland Civic Center Place to the parking lot of the Shops at Westshore in 2017.
This year, under the direction of new executive director Johnny Rodriguez, LAUP has returned Fiesta to the Civic Center but shifted the date to July 9, no longer colliding with the Tulip Time Festival.
Rodriguez said it was important to him to bring Fiesta back into the city, where he remembers walking to the celebration as a child.
Bringing back Fiesta is also important to Rodriguez as part of his goal to restore LAUP as the center of the Latino community in Holland — and to its prominence in the Holland community as a whole.
Subscribe:Get unlimited access to our breaking news and local coverage
Fiesta starts at noon on July 9 with an opening speech by Rodriguez.
Booths and the festival mercado (market) will be outside the Civic Center throughout the day, and food trucks will start selling authentic Hispanic cuisine at 3 p.m. The car show and raffle will be in the Padnos parking lot from noon to 6 p.m.
Entertainment for the day includes a 1 p.m. performance by DJ Two3, Gabriel Estrada and Latin Soul, a 3:15 p.m. performance by Son De Mexico (mariachi), a 4:30 p.m. performance by the Ballet Folklorico Sol Azteca, salsa dancing classes, and 7 p.m. performances by Baile Begins, DJ Two3 and live music by the Karisma Band.
Fiesta is also a major fundraiser for LAUP.
Ticket sales are used to fund the organization’s work with migrant workers, career and college readiness programs for Hispanic youth, U.S. citizenship classes and Spanish-English translation services for adults.
Under Rodriguez, the organization is working to launch more life skills classes, such as financial literacy and food and nutrition workshops, and expand its outreach.
Tickets will be available at the LAUP offices for $10 and at the door for $15 each or $20 per couple.


Shop Sephari