Barrio Hollywood comes alive with Fiesta Grande | Events
By Monica Surfaro Spigelman,
Get set for a festive celebration of Tucson’s Westside heritage in one of our city’s oldest barrios.
This weekend, May 7 and 8, the Ninth Annual Fiesta Grande will be a colorful declaration of Barrio Hollywood community spirit, offering a lineup of music, dance, food, car shows, kids activities, rides and booths in general revelry to raise funds for the students and elderly of this diverse Tucson neighborhood.
“The first year, we were expecting a few hundred people,” remembers community member Rose Julia Nenninger, a participant in the event since its inception. “Now it attracts 65,000 each day of the fiesta.”
The alive and happening neighborhood party is eclectic celebration of performing arts, barrio culture and great food, from 9:30 a.m.until dusk on Saturday and noon until dusk on Sunday. A parade kicks off the family-friendly street gathering with school mariachis, folklorico dancers, cheerleaders, law enforcement, floats and military promenading along Grande between Speedway and St. Mary’s.
Carnival rides, information tables, crafts, classic cars and street performers will line the route.
An assortment of neighborhood restaurants and bakeries, including Pat’s (the home of fiery chili dogs), Mariscos Chihuahua of seafood fame and El Rio bakers, will serve up traditional burros, grilled meats, fresh pico de gallo, homemade donuts, tortillas and other culinary delights.
Performers featuring a wide range of live music from tejano to country will rock the fiesta from two stages. Expect the brothers of Los Gallegos to generate its norteño sounds, with more Latin energy from Hollywood Knights and smooth percussion from the Santana tribute band Borboletta.
Attendees also can wander and admire the historic murals lining Grande Avenue. These nine-foot-tall tiled murals depicting old neighborhood photographs were created by Steve Farley and honor the people, traditions and history of Barrio Hollywood.
The festival was created by the Barrio Hollywood neighbors looking for a way to support local business affected by West Speedway sinkholes that closed access to the neighborhood for months in 2002. Barrio Hollywood rallied with a street fair that evolved into a celebration of Tucson’s Westside culture and a significant fundraiser for the Barrio Hollywood Neighborhood Association.
The funds support the El Rio Neighborhood Center and programs including Summer Midnight Hoops, college scholarships, continuing education and programs for local churches and the elderly.
“It’s all about building community in Barrio Hollywood, where everyone is a star,” says Nenninger, who works on fiesta entertainment production. “It’s about reconnecting with friends, having fun and bringing alive the traditions of our wonderful heritage.”
Ninth Annual Fiesta Grande in Barrio Hollywood – Free
Saturday, May 7 – 9:30 AM until dusk
Sunday, May 8 – Noon until dusk
Grande Avenue (four blocks west of I-10) between Speedway Blvd. and St. Mary's Road.