Street fair celebrates Mexicos independence | SierraSun.com
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Street fair celebrates Mexicos independence

Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun file photoCrowds walk down Brook Street during last year's Mexican Independence Day Street Fair in Kings Beach.
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Sylvia Doignon grew up in Mexico City and remembers the joyful celebration of her nations independence from Spain each September.The Doignons observed the holiday with food, family, music, fireworks, Viva Mexico chants and a whole lot of fun. Flash forward nearly 30 years, and Doignon is resurrecting the Mexican celebration at Lake Tahoe, helping organize a street fair in Kings Beach for Dia de la Independencia.More than a thousand residents and visitors socialized with neighbors, indulged in homemade tamales and danced in the streets of North Tahoe last year on Mexican Independence Day, and organizers hope for an even bigger turnout Saturday.Dia de la Independencia, or Mexican Independence Day, is celebrated every year on Sept. 16 to mark the day the nation began its fight for independence from the imperial Spanish authority in 1810.

Creciendo Unidos, a Kings Beach organization that aims to promote healthy activities for youth and to support bicultural events, is helping to host the second annual street fair, which will close Brook Avenue in Kings Beach a day before the actual Mexican holiday.Heres an opportunity to provide a substance-free event and also provide the education and the culture why not do it? said Emilio Vaca, a facilitator for Creciendo Unidos.The celebration includes a plethora of traditional food with homemade touches, Veracruz-style music, a DJ and dance troupes performing both pre-Spain and post-Spain traditional dances. Fireworks and political speeches will also mark the celebration.Its like the Fourth of July of Mexico, Vaca said.Last year the street fair hosted about 25 vendors, and this year the number is expected to rise to 30 to 35.Not only will local nonprofit organizations set up booths, but local businesses, restaurants and even families can pay a $50 fee for a station to sell homemade tacos, for example.Theresa May Duggan, a North Tahoe resident and business owner, said the street fair is one of her favorite annual celebrations.

Its one of our best events, she said. It was a long time coming, to celebrate that area of our population that were so thankful to have. It has just a good spirit and good feeling to it.Since Creciendo Unidos agreed to share the helm with the North Tahoe Business Association and Duggan & Duggan, alcohol has not played a role at the family-oriented street fair.What weve decided to do is make it significant to celebrate someones culture without tying in the alcohol and drugs, Vaca said. Yet, Vaca said last years street fair didnt produce any problems and organizers are anticipating another seamless celebration.We can have fun as Mexicans and not have any troubles. Its the alcohol sometimes that agitates, he said.Fair-goers say the event is not only entertaining, but an educational experience for Mexicans and non-Mexicans alike.Its just an opportunity for the town to come and taste the food and learn a little more of our culture, that the real celebration for [Mexican] independence is September 16 and not Cinco de Mayo, Doignon said.


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