Fiesta Grande To Hit Barrio Hollywood Saturday, Sunday

April 17, 2015

2by Brad Poole

Grande Avenue will be hopping this weekend when the Fiesta Grande takes over the West Side street in a celebration of Barrio Hollywood – the historic Hispanic neighborhood a stone’s throw from Downtown Tucson.

There will be bands, food, crafts and other vendors … but mostly fun and camaraderie. The fun will close Grande from Speedway to St. Mary’s starting at 7 p.m. Friday and continue Saturday and Sunday.

The festival isn’t just about fun and games, though. Money raised at the event will go toward scholarships for higher education and youth sports programs in Barrio Hollywood – a center of Hispanic life in Tucson for more than a century.

“A big one we’re focusing on this year is Midnight Hoops,” said Rich Cannon, the festival director, referring to a program that keeps kids off the streets with late-night sports at El Rio Neighborhood Center.

1The Fiesta board also offers several $1,000 college scholarships annually, Cannon said.

And you might have noticed a series of large, black-and-white photo murals along Grande between St. Mary’s and Speedway. Those tile art installations, which reproduce neighborhood business owners and residents, were paid for by the Fiesta Grande board.

The murals were created by Tucson artist Steve Farley, a state legislator representing District 9. His tilemaking process was also behind the familiar photo-tiles along Broadway near the Snake Bridge and a major installation at the Phoenix
Convention Center.

Food vendors (close to 100 of them) aren’t the only option during the street festival.

Cannon points out that Pat’s Drive In, where you can get fresh chili dogs – or frozen ones, to take home for later, will be open normal hours. Marisco’s will also be open on Grande near Speedway, as will Taco Giro at the other end of the festival near St. Mary’s.

Fiesta Grande runs Saturday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday Noon-7 p.m. There is no admission. Major sponsors include Food City and Wells Fargo Bank.

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