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Woodburn's biggest cultural festival celebrates its 56th year Friday through Sunday

The 56th annual Fiesta Mexicana is just around the corner, as Woodburn's Legion Park is ready to host thousands of guests for the three-day event on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The main stage of the Fiesta Mexicana is packed with dancers, singers, wrestlers and more throughout the three-day event.Originally organized in 1964 to celebrate the end of the harvest season and show appreciation to local farmworkers, the Fiesta has since grown to one of the largest celebrations of Latino culture in Oregon, bringing a number of family-friendly musical guests, dancers, rides, games and more to Woodburn for the three-day event.

But what to do? The Fiesta Mexicana packs an incredible amount of entertainment into the weekend, and festival-goers have plenty of options to choose from depending on what tickles their fancy.

Opening day and Fiesta Court

The Fiesta kicks off on Friday at noon and goes until 11 p.m. Admission is free all day on the opening day. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $5 after 5 p.m. for those age 11 and older. Saturday's hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., while Sunday's Fiesta goes from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Entertainment begins at 2:45 p.m. with Niki Valdez leading Latin Zumba, followed by Woodburn Children's Ballet Folklorico and various musical acts throughout the event.

The biggest draw on Friday is the coronation of the Queen of the Fiesta Mexicana Court. This year's court consists of six members — Diana Bravo Rodriguez, Miriam Barbosa Herrera, Jessenia Villanueva and Priscila Arechiga Molinar of Woodburn, along with Cynthia Nayeli Cardenas and Adriana Cortés Cortés of Mount Angel. Coronation will be held at 6:45 p.m. at the main stage, followed by musical performance from El Bajio and Candente Musical to end the evening.

Carnival rides

While the live entertainment is a big draw, the Fiesta would not be complete without carnival rides. This year's Fiesta will include such favorites as the tumbling cages of the Zipper, the dizzying weightlessness of Galaxy 3000, egg-beater styles rides such as the Sizzler and Dizzy Dragons, and track rides like the Dragon Wagon Roller Coaster and Jalopy Junction.

Car Show

The biggest day of the Fiesta opens with the Fiesta Car show on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Guests streaming into the Fiesta grounds can check out the variety of classic cars, hot rods and speedsters in the parking lot at Legion Park.

Trophies for the winning vehicles will be awarded at 2 p.m. in the following categories: Lowrider, Classic, Truck, Bicycle, Mayor's Choice, Queen's Choice and Best in Show.

Parade

Guests will not want to miss the annual Fiesta Mexicana Parade, which starts at 11 a.m., looping through downtown on its way toward the Fiesta grounds at Legion Park.

The parade starts at the Woodburn Aquatic Center and heads down First Street, crossing the railroad tracks at Lincoln Street and heading east through downtown neighborhoods before turning north toward the park on Park Avenue.

This year's parade Grand Marshal is Elias Villegas, Dean of the Chemeketa Community College Woodburn Center. For nearly 14 years, Villegas has served as an educational leader within the Woodburn community, helping build Chemeketa's Woodburn campus into a place of cultural, social and economic unity while providing students an opportunity to continue their education after high school.

The parade features a variety of floats and entertainment, from colorful dancers and tricked out lowriders to horseback riders, music and, of course, plenty of candy for children in the audience.

The downtown construction on First Street will not alter this year's parade route, though guests will want to arrive early to find places to watch, as sidewalk space is still inaccessible in places.

Soccer Tournament

Throughout the weekend, the Fiesta's annual soccer tournament provides an opportunity for sports fans to sit back and take in the beautiful game from the Legion Park stands. Youth and adult teams will compete again in tournament play leading up to the championship games and recognition as Fiesta's Soccer Champions on Sunday.

Lucha Libre

A recent addition to the festival over the past half-decade, Lucha Libre PDX will once again bring their high-flying wrestling entertainment to the Fiesta grounds on Saturday and Sunday. Lucha Libre will hold an afternoon show at 2 p.m. on Saturday and an evening performance at 6:15 p.m. On Sunday, the luchadores will return for one more performance at 4:50 p.m.

Live Entertainment

Fiesta is always packed with great musical guests and this year is no exception. With big band ensembles such as Banda Potrero and Banda Zeta on Sunday, along with Grupo Samuray and Grupo Obzzecion on Saturday, along with Edna Vasquez & Portland Mariachi, along with a Glori Trevi singing contest, there is something for everyone.

Vendors

Don't forget to check out the vendors. Traditional Latino fair such as tacos, sopas, tamals, empanadas and more will be available, along with fair treats like shaved ice, elephant ears and more.


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