By Will Tigley
The fourth year of Calgary’s annual Fiesta Filipino had amazing growth.
Over 66,000 people attended throughout the three days over the September long weekend and even downpours of rain couldn’t keep the crowds away from enjoying the food and entertainment.
“We had the most Filipino celebrities attend this year than any previous Fiesta,” says Prima Anderson, Fiesta Filipino co-chair. “On Saturday people waited the whole day to see Viva artists Xian Lim, Yassi Pressman, and Bela Padilla and just before they made their appearance the rain came down.”
Anderson was amazed at the resilience of the crowds who stood their ground in the rain, but the Viva artists delivered to the screams and cheers of their fans.
Each year, the event continues to grow with support extending far beyond the local Filipino in Calgary.
“We see many non-Filipinos come attend the event,” says Anderson. “Yes, the food is a huge draw because our 13 food vendors offer up some of the best Filipino dishes, but the entertainment and the energetic atmosphere is a draw too. People just enjoy being at the Fiesta.”
With the crowds it draws and the fact that there are over 75,000 Filipinos in Calgary, officials from the municipal and provincial governments made appearances to greet the crowds enjoying the event.
“This year, the Alberta government designated June as Philippine Heritage Month to recognize and celebrate the contributions of our community to the province,” says Anderson. “So it was so nice to see so many ministers, MLAs and city councillors attend Fiesta Filipino. It shows how much importance they place on our community and we’re so grateful for their support.”
With another year under wraps, Anderson and the rest of the Fiesta Filipino Council and its over 200 volunteers are satisfied with the success of 2018, but know they’ll soon have to prepare for 2019.
“Next year will be our fifth year for Fiesta and we know it’s just going to continue to grow,” says Anderson. “We’re pretty exhausted right now, but we can’t wait to bring Calgary another amazing show.”