Mayor Gray’s administration has proposed moving Fiesta DC from the Hispanic community in Mt. Pleasant to downtown D.C.
Fiesta DC is known for transforming Mt. Pleasant Street NW into a festive community party with ethnic food, lively bands and passionate dancers, to celebrate Hispanic and Latino heritage.
"Residents say it has become too big for Mt. Pleasant," Pedro Ribeiro, director of communications for the District of Columbia said. "We continue to work with the organizers to make sure the fiesta happens and to find a suitable location."
This raises concern for D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who fears that his ward will lose yet another major festival. "This comes off the heels of the Caribbean festival being moved," Graham said.
Just a few weeks ago, organizers of the D.C. Caribbean Carnival (PDF) announced that the festival is moving from Georgia Avenue to Lake Clifton Park in Baltimore.
Graham believes that taking the fiesta out of a Hispanic community and putting it downtown changes the dynamic of the celebration. Instead of having the character of a local celebration, moving the party to Pennsylvania Avenue would make it feel more like a national event, according to Graham.
Graham said the Fiesta DC has taken place on Pennsylvania Avenue previously, but "it didn’t have the same vitality."
Graham realizes that having the parade and the vendors all on Mt. Pleasant Road causes a "strain," which is why he proposed a different route within Mt. Pleasant. Graham suggested keeping the vendors on Mt. Pleasant road, but moving the parade down 16th Street from Spring Road to Park Road. His proposal, however, was rejected by the deputy mayor, according to Graham.
A petition has been created and addressed to Mayor Gray’s Task Force on Special Events to prevent the fiesta from moving to Pennsylvania Avenue.
Graham is continuing to work with the deputy mayor to pick a better location. While there are many options, Graham believes there is a way to keep the festival in Mt. Pleasant.