City Council OKs expanded venue for Hispanic Heritage Fiesta
Below is an article that was published in the June 29, 2022, edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.
The Hispanic Heritage Fiesta is set to return to Grand Haven this fall.
The festivities will take place the week of Sept. 18-24, with a fiesta taking place Saturday, Sept. 24.
The fiesta has previously taken place in Grand Haven’s Central Park. That area will be expanded this year, as City Council on Monday unanimously approved blocking off Columbus Avenue adjacent to the park to allow for easier foot traffic between the park and the Community Center during the festivities.
Reyna Masko, co-founder of Tri-Cities Puentes Initiative and co-chairperson of the Hispanic Heritage Fiesta, spoke at the City Council meeting to explain the reasonings for why they wanted to close off Columbus and the park.
“We want our guests and our residents to be safe,” she said. “I ask you for a vote to allow us to do that, and to bring a really great community event to this community.”
Masko also explained to council members that she and the team organizing the event have hired a professional to help with the planning, including the fencing of the park and blocking off Columbus in order to ensure it was all done correctly and safely. She added that the city’s neighborhood development coordinator and Grand Haven Department of Public Safety were both impressed with the professional they hired.
The Rev. Jared Cramer of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Grand Haven also spoke at the meeting in favor of blocking off Columbus for the fiesta.
“I understand the recommendation of the city – it’s because we’ve never done that before,” Cramer said. “There’s a lot of things Grand Haven hasn’t done before that it probably should start trying.”
Cramer also mentioned the reservations the city had in allowing the fiesta to take place for the first time in 2019, and how so many people ended up enjoying it.
Councilman Mike Fritz noted how much he has enjoyed the festival in previous years.
“It is such a great thing. I have such a good time,” he said. “I think it’s much better for us to have it all in one location.”
Mayor Catherine McNally also pointed out that since the fiesta takes place in September, it would be less of an inconvenience to block off a street.
“I think it’s good for the town to have something to do in September and I think it’s going to have a much lower impact on traffic than it might at other times of the year,” she said.