Fiesta Latino latest COVID-19 casualty


Fiesta Latino, a one-day West Liberty event which had been slated for this Saturday, Sept. 12, is being cancelled, the latest victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials told members of the West Liberty City Council Tuesday night, Sept. 1, at their regular meeting.

Luc Martinez, representing organizer Francisco Martinez of West Liberty, told the board the committee putting the event together decided it was in the best interest of the community to cancel the event this year. Francisco Martinez said the group “waited and waited and waited” for things to change for the better, but said it never did and the organization was forced to cancel the event for the first time. He praised the community for their support and said the event will return in 2021.

The festival, which included a first-time parade a year ago, coincided with the West Liberty Children’s Festival, which was also cancelled earlier. Other activities of the festival included live Latino music, Mexican food and drink as well as several children’s games and activities including a colorful train that snaked through the block.

Fiesta Latino organizers promised the event would return in 2021, in what is hoped to be a COVID-19 free environment. The group had asked to shut down the main downtown block of Third Street from Spencer Street to Calhoun Street, for the event.

She said the event takes months to plan and would not want anyone to get exposed to the virus because of the festival, particularly concerned since the current outbreak of rising cases in Iowa.

Mayor Robert Hartman called it “being very responsible” in cancelling the event in favor of the health of the community and welcomed the group back next year to create the event, which not only draws a lot of local residents, but Latino music enthusiasts from all over Eastern Iowa.