TOPEKA (KSNT) — It’s called the capital city’s ‘best event’ and “Fiesta Mexicana” is going strong.
Thousands have gathered in the Oakland neighborhood to celebrate the Mexican culture this week.
“Our faith family is very important to us, we like to share that with people to let them know how prideful we are,” said Margaret Martinez, 2015 Fiesta Mexicana Chairman.
Generations of Topekans have grown up celebrating Fiesta Mexican and this year marks its 82nd year.
“We are very proud of our food, music and religion of course,” says Martinez.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church serves the spiritual needs of the city’s Spanish speaking community, and it’s the heart of the festival.
“My grandfather Pedro Lopez helped founded the church hear at our Lady of Guadalupe,” said Dolorez Oliva.
The Fiesta has humble beginnings starting in 1933. And has grown into the city’s biggest tourist attraction and one of the largest celebrations of Hispanic culture in the Midwest.
“This will always be apart of my home. So I come back many times of the year actually not just for Fiesta, but especially for Fiesta,” said Felipe Rangel.
Felipe Rangel was born and raised in Topeka. Now living in Chicago, he says it’s important he stays connected with his Mexican roots.
“I was a product of Lady Guadalupe Church. So I was educated here, born and raised here, got the catholic background, Spanish background all from here,” said Rangel.
And the majority of the Mexican Americans here are natives to this community as well.
From three, four, five generations to teachers and students.
“I taught at Holliday Junior High, and over at Chase Elementary. When I was 44, I started getting my second generation of students. So when I see them here now they are with children of their own,” said Oliva.
Angela Soto is a former student of Oliva’s. She now has a teenage son of her own.
Generations blending and that’s what it’s all about.
“I think it is important for everyone to come together, and know where they came from and this is where it originated,” said Angela Soto.