Feb. 16, 2017
The Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana, a volunteer-powered city-wide event, marks its upcoming 54th year with an Oregon Heritage Tradition designation by the Oregon Heritage Commission.
Other Oregon Heritage Traditions include the Oregon State Fair, Medford's Pear Blossom Festival, the Pendleton Round-Up, and the Portland Greek Festival.
"The designation recognizes those traditions that have helped define the state," said Eric Martin, the commission's chair. "This event truly celebrates what is local heritage in Oregon."
The Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana started in 1964 to mark the end of the harvest season and to express gratitude from the community to its farmers and workers. Held annually during the first weekend of August, the Fiesta has grown over the years to include a Queen and Court coronation, world-class entertainers, a soccer tournament, classic cars, and a community parade.
Tens of thousands of locals across the Willamette Valley participate in the three-day long festivities that take place in the heart of downtown Woodburn. As the city's longest tradition, the Fiesta shares the rich variety of Latino or Hispanic cultures through food, dance, and the arts. It also acknowledges the critical role community members have had in this region for decades.
"We're really pleased to learn that the Fiesta has earned this prestigious designation, which is only held by fifteen other long-standing events in Oregon," City of Woodburn assistant city administrator Jim Row said. "It is a recognition of the efforts that many people have dedicated to the Fiesta over its 53 year history."
An Oregon Heritage Tradition must have been in continuous operation for more than 50 years, demonstrate a public profile and reputation that distinguishes it from more routine events, and add to the livability and identity of the state. A list of Tradition designations is available at http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/HCD/OHC/pages/oht.aspx .
The Oregon Heritage Commission coordinates efforts to solve statewide heritage issues through grants, education, and advocacy, and also promotes heritage tourism efforts.