Topeka
Topeka

Fiesta Mexicana

For 85-plus years the Fiesta Mexicana, planned and operated by Our Lady of Guadalupe parish and community volunteers, has celebrated Mexican culture with the public through art, entertainment, food and community. Today the Fiesta continues to be a meaningful and well-attended event, with some attendees driving from across the country just to take part in the five-day celebration. Music, culture, dance, food, family, friends and fun await at the Fiesta Mexicana of Topeka.  

First, a Brief History Lesson  

The first Fiesta Mexicana took place on August 17, 1933, on the grounds of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. It was organized by Father Augustine Cuarterro and the parishioners, with the special assistance Mrs. Genevieve McDade, a local philanthropist. The entire operation was a community effort. Locals performed music and dances traditional to different parts of Mexico. Food was made at home and brought to the church grounds to be sold. Although it was only day-long event, it proved so financially successful that the public requested it be held again the next year. It wasn't long before the event expanded and grew to a near week-long annual celebration, attended by crowds in the thousands.   

Visita Topeka - More Information | Topeka, KS

The Sights and Sounds  

The Fiesta Mexicana offers a feast of sights and sounds for all ages to enjoy.   

The traditional Mexcian dance showcase is at the center of the Fiesta's host of attractions. Performed by various local and regional dance troupes, the Fiesta dancers will have you mesmerized with their rhythmic steps perfectly punctuated by their gracefully flowing Fiesta garments. Past acts have included Aguilas Aztecas, Bailes Mestizos and Ballet Folklorico De Topeka and Our Lady of Guadalupe Dancers.  

Music along with dance has always been an integral part of the Fiesta since its inception. In addition to banda, norteño, salsa and English mainstream acts, the Fiesta has long paid homage to its roots through its continued inclusion of mariachi and Tejano.   

Visit the Marlo Cuevas-Balandran Activity Center for the Fiesta Mexicana Art Show, an exhibit of color, form and expression by some of the uniquely talented families in the barrio community. The show begins at 4:30 p.m. every day of the Fiesta.  

Make your way downtown on the Saturday before the Fiesta for the Fiesta Parade in Downtown Topeka, one of the Fiesta's most highly anticipated pre-opener festivities. Offering sea of colors, cars and characters, the parade is a combined effort put forth by the community that you shouldn't miss out on.   

The Food  

For generations the Fiesta has been known for its authentic Mexican food offerings. Food sales begin at 4 p.m. every day and continue until the food is sold out. The anticipation of homemade sopa, enchiladas, tamales, burritos, tostadas and tacos at Fiesta keeps people flocking to the church grounds well into the evening. It is not uncommon to sell over 10,000 items a night. Food preparation for the Fiesta includes months of careful and tradition filled planning.  

Fiesta Activities  

The Mercado:   

The Fiesta Mercado, located near the front of the church, offers authentic Mexican items for purchase. These items include clothing (Fiesta attire), religious items (medals and holy cards, as well as hand-made 1-decade rosaries), handmade bracelets and jewelry, novelty items, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Fiesta souvenirs (postcards, etc.), and much more.   

The Carnival:  

The nightly Carnival offers a wonderland of neon lights, timeless rides, enticing games and traditional carnival food. Hours are 6 to 11 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday, and 6 p.m. to Midnight on Friday and Saturday.   

Friendly Fiesta Competitions:    

In addition to music, food and folly, the Fiesta will play host to several friendly physical competitions, including the Annual Fiesta 5K Run/Walk, the Fiesta's Annual Fiesta Disc-Golf Doubles Tournament and the Fiesta Mexicana Golf Tournament.  

Learn more, including the full schedule, at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Fiesta website.

Fiesta Mexicana