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Taking the Headache out of fundraising

The Fiesta Grande Street Fair is this weekend April 9 & 10. It’s easy to find, just West of I-10 on Grande Avenue between Speedway and St. Mary’s. Approximately 40,000 people come down to the fiesta every year in April, for fun in the sun and to enjoy the many flavors of Tucson. Our very own Rich Cannon, Executive director of the Fiesta Grande of Barrio Hollywood sat down with KGUN9’s Morning Blend to to promote the event. They also gave a shout out to their Fundraiser on Fund-r-easy too!

Admission is free to the event, so we your family and friends out for this 2-day event. If you are like me, the first time I ever visited Grande Avenue and the old Hollywood Barrio was for the fiesta. I now come down with friends during the rest of the year to enjoy some of the incredible Mexican restaurants that I never even knew about; Taco Giro, Micha’s, Tanias 33 and El Rio to name a few- yum!

The Hollywood Barrio is a traditional Tucson neighborhood. There’s a real sense of authentic Sonoran culture here. The streets are cordoned off so there are no cars and people are free to walk around and explore. The hub of the festival is at the church (full name: St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Roman Catholic Church). From here the festival spreads for blocks. You might lose your bearings because there’s a lot too take in. Luckily you can just ask one of the friendly vendors or officials for info or directions. And you will be delighted to know there are hundreds of vendors selling all kinds of stuff: crafts, jewelry, musical instruments, candles, art, native, clothing and so much more.

Besides quality walking-around-time with the family and friends, there’s tons of interesting things to do and see. For the kids, there’s face painting, carnival rides, parades, balloons, slushies, and ice-cream. For the kid at heart they have the car shows by Dukes of Tucson, live music, a hot dog eating contest… which leads me to: the food. There are so many food vendors!

It’s almost incredible how many wonderful smells waft through the air. Everywhere you look you’ll find open grills cooking up onions and peppers, spices, herbs, sauces, meats and all sorts of sides, from fries to ceviche. All I can say is come hungry,  because that’s only the beginning. They have grilled sausages, burgers, carne-seca, carnitas, fry-bread, and  fresh-crisp chimichangas with delicious home-made salsa. You may come hungry,  but you certainly won’t leave that way.

I was curious about the festival’s origins,  so I asked the Barrio Hollywood neighbors and they spun an amazing tale about a sink-hole that was blocking access, and the true spirit of the neighborhood coming together and making lemonade out of the lemons life was dealing them. A pedestrian friendly street fair was the answer, and that’s how it all began. Over the course of 14 years, it has become this big wonderful annual fiesta. Fiesta Grande also builds awareness, and helps support not only the local vendors, but a portion of the proceeds go to support the community. From a sink-hole to a chimichanga, the Fiesta Grande Street Fair has come a long way in 14 years!