Several festivals celebrate the ethnic diversity of our city. In May, the Cherry Blossom Festival offered its annual presentation of Japanese-American culture. Then, in June, were the Arab Festival, Germanfest and Greekfest.
Saturday is Fiesta Fort Wayne, a showcase of the culture and traditions of the city's Hispanic community.
The festival offers an all-day and all-evening panorama of Hispanic music, dancing and food, with lots of family-friendly activities, including pinatas, games, face-painting and payasos – clowns.
Fort Wayne's ethnic festivals are typically well attended by the larger community. As visitors sample new foods and listen to new kinds of music, they – especially the children – often find themselves leaving with a better understanding of their neighbors.
Hispanic culture has deep roots here, said Fernando Zapari, editor of El Mexicano newspaper and organizer of this year's festival. “People can come and see who we are and learn what we are about.”
The timing of this year's fiesta is coincidental, but the kind of unity the event can symbolize has special significance. Though most of us pray that it is only temporary, our nation is enduring an upsurge in racial animosity. The powerful shock of the most recent round of hate-filled mass shootings reverberated throughout the country, but the tragedies shook Hispanic communities especially hard.
There is never a wrong time for a community to distance itself from hatred by honoring and celebrating the varied backgrounds and cultures of its residents.
This, though, is a particularly auspicious moment.
If you go
Fiesta Fort Wayne 2019 will be from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday at Headwaters Park. Admission is $5 before 6 p.m.; $10 after. Children 10 and younger are free.