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Hispanic, Latino Heritage spotlighted in annual Fiesta Indianapolis celebration

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A celebration of Hispanic heritage is expected to draw around 10,000 people at Lugar Plaza. Fiesta Indianapolis is now in its 41st year, and organizers say it’s a chance to have fun and experience Indy’s broad Hispanic culture.

When the first Fiesta Indianapolis was held four decades ago, the Hispanic population in Indianapolis was around one percent. Today it’s at 13 percent, illustrating just how much the community has grown and the cultural impact it’s had on the city.

There’s a lot that goes into pulling off the annual Fiesta Indianapolis events.

“Takes a full team to pull it together, and that’s what we have,” Cesar Jones, manager of access programs at La Plaza, said.

The work is worth it because at the center is the essence of family.

“It’s all about giving back to the community and making sure everyone has a chance to have their heritage on the spotlight,” Jones said.

The pandemic forced the event to operate virtually for the last two years, but this time it’s back in person ready to welcome 10,000 people, with more than 40 booths and half a dozen musical performances.

“We’re really excited for people to have a fun family friendly event that they can enjoy,” Mariana Lopez-Owens, La Plaza’s director of workforce development, said.

The annual event is a chance to shine a light and learn more about Indy’s diverse Hispanic and Latino population, and a chance to break down negative assumptions and stereotypes.

“Latino and Hispanic. The terms are used interchangeable, but Latinos refer to people from the Latin American countries,” Lopez-Ownes said. “Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish. So people from Spain are not Latinos but they are Hispanics.”

Fiesta Indianapolis is also La Plaza’s largest fundraiser, allowing the agency to continue it’s work providing things like healthcare and food access to it’s growing client base.

“There’s going to be a lot of cool different arts that really represent the heritage,” Jones said.

Fiesta Indianapolis is Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. at Light Plaza in downtown Indianapolis.