LIGONIER — A tradition that started with a couple of neighbors has turned into a town-wide pitch-in party again for the second time.
Although Mexican Independence Day is on Monday, the free fiesta will happen this Friday from 4-10 p.m. in Kenney Park.
Just like last year, this year will be full of music, dancing and all the elotes and tortas you could want.
However, some new things are in the works for this year’s fiesta, like a parade organizer Arturo Macias said will travel from El Paraiso down Main Street and turn to head to Kenney Park.
“I figured we’d do something different and see what happens,” Macias said.
When the procession arrives at the park, Macias said they will sing both the American National Anthem and the Mexican National Anthem and tell the story of how Mexico won its independence from Spain.
Then, the festivities will begin.
Mexican folk dancers and mariachi bands will both perform this year, and the mechanical bull will return, too.
Those who want to come are asked to bring a dish, since the more food there is, the more there is to go around for everyone. Last year, Macias estimated he gave out around 400 tortas.
“I told people, the more you bring, the more there is to eat,” he said.
Macias said he didn’t know how many people came to the event last year, but he knew it was a lot.
“It was quite a few,” he said. “Everybody ran out of food.”
Ligoiner Mayor Patty Fisel went to the fiesta last year and also said a lot of people showed up to celebrate.
“It was very well attended last year,” Fisel said.
To Macias, who is originally from Mexico and has lived in Ligonier for years, the fiesta holds a special importance. He’s been having a party for the last 15 or so years, and when it got too big for him to host, he moved it to Kenney Park last year.
“We started here with like three or four neighbors,” Macias said.
One of the biggest functions of the fiesta is to show kids who are born in Ligonier of Mexican heritage what Mexican Independence Day is all about.
In 1810, when Mexico was called New Spain, Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo rang the bell calling others to join in arms and fight for the county’s independence. A 10-year war ensued, ending in 1821 when Spain ceded defeat to the country that was then called Mexico.
“The idea is to tell all the little guys who were born here who have no clue about how Mexico got its independence,” Macias said.
Fisel is also a supporter of the fiesta, and sees the value of embracing multiple cultures in a community.
“They have a lot to offer the whole community, and it’s interesting to have another culture to be able to be exposed to and to expose our kids to that,” Fisel said. “We welcome that and we’re happy that they do that.”