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Fiesta Broadway Returns Sunday

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, April 20, 2009, at 02:46PM
Fiesta Broadway 2008 Frederick Dennstedt [Flickr]

A stage at the 2008 Fiesta Broadway extended on to Hill street, necessitating more closures. Organizers have worked to limit this year's festival to Broadway.

Fiesta Broadway returns to Downtown on Sunday, drawing an estimated 500,000 for three stages of Latin music and ten blocks of sponsor tents.

The festival, now in its twentieth year, brings big numbers but has also brought big headaches for some residents and local businesses. While the festival has made an increased push to work with affected buildings in previous years, come festival time not everyone has felt like partying.

Six days before the festival, Fiesta Broadway's website doesn't list the exact closures for this year's event. A link to 2009 closures brings up 2008 information.

Unlike last year, this year's event will limit closures to Broadway, leaving Main and Hill open.

The AT&T Main Stage will be located in the triangle-shaped parking lot on the southeast side of Broadway and Olympic. A second, Burger King sponsored Community Stage will be nearby, in the parking lot between 9th and Olympic. The final stage, sponsored by KWHY TV, will be on Broadway at 1st.

Community relations for the festival have been fragile in recent years as the number of residential properties along the closure route has increased. Particularly affected is the Eastern Columbia, whose parking garage has its only entrance on Broadway

For this year's festival, festival representative Gabriel Reyes says that working with those affected has been a top priority. "We really have listened to the residents and to the Downtown merchants," Reyes said at a news conference last Friday. "We've reached out to each and every one of them, listened to their concerns, and then we've made our adjustments."

Bill Cooper, chair of the Eastern Columbia's Community Liason Committee, says that festival organizers have made similar claims in the past. "They made promises the last two years that they simply did not keep," Cooper told blogdowntown. "It was a nightmare for our residents."

Whether the festival's twentieth year proves to be the charm is something that will only be able to be properly judged after the fact.

DRIVING SUNDAY? Downtowners looking to drive in or out of the neighborhood should be aware that Broadway and all cross streets will be closed to through traffic all day Sunday, with some closures beginning Saturday evening. Expect traffic to be heavy on surrounding streets.


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