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Mexican Heritage Fiesta a success

This year’s Mexican Heritage Society Fiesta may have moved locations, but there was just was much food, fun and festivities as before.

With the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center out of commission since Hurricane Rita, organizers of the 38th annual Mexican Heritage Society Fiesta looked to one of the only local areas big enough to hold the event — the PACE Hall on Jefferson Drive.

Tony Ramirez, president of the organization, said relocating has been a challenge.

“It is not set up for the type of capacity we usually have,” Ramirez said. “We miss the luxuries of the civic center.”

But even though the space was smaller than usual, a steady stream of patrons moved through the doors to the vibrant sounds of Mexican music and the hearty smell of tacos.

Dana Esqueda-Wiltz of Nederland watched as her daughter decided on a toy to purchase at one of the booths set up at the hall. Esqueda-Wiltz has been a Folkloric Dancer off and on for about 20 years, possibly more. She began dancing with the group as a child and stopped at the age of 18, now, at 33, she’s back at it.

The Hispanic woman enjoys the fiesta not just for the food, dancing and fun but for a deeper reason.

“This allows us and out children to have an understanding of our roots,” Esqueda-Wiltz said. “The dresses we wear, they represent the different states in Mexico and each dress has a meaning.”

Juanita Falcon, recording secretary for the group, fluttered from one busy area to another on Saturday. In the past 19 years Falcon has held every office in the group except for treasurer.

Falcon was pleased with the turn-out for the event.

“Even though the civic center was not available there’s a showing of people,” Falcons aid. “It’s positive. The atmosphere is festive, people have come to relax.

The Mexican Heritage Society presents local high school students of Hispanic ancestry with annual scholarships, using money raised through the year.