By Sara Karlovitch
People from every aspect of Latin American culture descended on the National Mall Saturday, Sept. 16 for the 46th annual Fiesta DC. The festival runs over the course of two days, from Saturday, Sept. 16 through Sunday, Sept. 17 and included a kickoff parade full of colors, music, and heritage.
The parade, which began 1 p.m., was filled with dancers, floats and bright clothing. Participants and spectators flooded the streets around the National Mall talking, practicing their acts and getting into elaborate costumes. The festival seemed to have a different meaning for everyone, each person had a different story to tell.
Kymberly Coral, 21, performed the Tobas, a Bolivian folk dance in the parade. “My sister and I have been dancing Caribbean dances for eight years and we joined the Bolivian Community five or six years ago,” she said.
Coral was not the only dancer celebrating her heritage at the festival. Amber Labiajera, 28, was performing the Samba with her school, the Vavá United School of Samba, and celebrating her Brazilian heritage. It is her third year performing in the parade. To Labiajera, the parade is a way to celebrate her Brazilian roots.
“I am Brazilian, this is my heritage,” Labiajera said. “As you can see, a lot of us don’t even speak English. It’s a great way, especially when you are coming from a different country to find your community, to find your home again.”
Dancers weren’t the only group to make their presence known at the Fiesta D.C. Parade. The parade was lead by the Latin American Motorcycle Association, an organization with chapters all over the country.
Logan Alomar, 37, the president of the Gaithersburg, Maryland, chapter, said Fiesta D.C. was about pride. “Take a look around, there are a lot of Hispanic, Latino cultures and it’s cool to be able to see all this pride and celebrating culture.”
Lisa Edwards, 45, the vice president of the Gaithersburg chapter, called the parade “beautiful.” Edwards said, “It is absolutely beautiful with all the different nations and the beautiful colors.”
The parade was a celebration of culture, tradition and pride. It served as a colorful, vibrant reminder of the many cultures that make the DMV area, and the country as a whole.
Featured Photo Credit: Lisa Woolfson/Bloc Photographer
Sara Karlovitch is a sophomore journalism and government and politics major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.