Calgary – it’s Fiesta Time!


By Darlene Casten


Filipino song, dance, food and celebrity will again take over downtown Calgary on the September long weekend.

The fourth annual Fiesta Filipino takes place Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 at Olympic Plaza. Last year’s Fiesta brought 40,000 people to the plaza to get a taste of hard-to-find Filipino food like isaw and to get a glimpse of Filipino singers and heartthrobs.

Fiesta Filipino vice-chair Prima Anderson says the aim of the event is to give kababayans a taste of home.

“It’s hard to express their happiness when they see our cultural dances and hear the songs,” she says. “It brings them close to home when they are far from home.”

This year five Viva Entertainment actors, actresses, singers and comedians will take the stage.

Actor, singer and professional basketball player Xian Lim, actresses and singers Yassi Pressman, Bela Padilla and Annie Lux and comedian Chad Kinis will be the headliners for Calgary Filipinos.

The Filipino entertainment is the biggest draw and no times have been announced for the performances, but Anderson says she can say they will be on stage on Saturday.

“They will do some performances – singing and dancing – and will do some games and will be interacting with the audience,” Anderson says.

The Fiesta also is a chance for Filipinos to share their culture with others, says Anderson.

“It’s for everyone, other cultures to see what we have,” she says. “We have similarities and that brings us closer together.”

She says she loves to see people identify with Filipino culture.

“We want to show the province of Alberta that we have a very rich culture,” she says. “We have similarities and that brings us closer together.”

There will be 12 food vendors and three food trucks serving up Filipino specialties and hard to find street food.

Many food vendors, like Pacific Hut restaurant and Adobo Experience, are returning for a second year, says Anderson.

“Isaw will be back, we’ll have siopao,” she says. “Another food item that will be back from last year that people were excited about was the bubble waffle.”

Fiesta Filipino gets underway Friday at noon with performances, food vendors and a night jam that is open to all musicians.

The grand opening takes place Saturday at noon.

“They will be choreographing cultural performances – it’s a big cultural day Saturday that’s for sure,” says Anderson.

A fashion show of clothing made from Filipino natural fibres will also take place Saturday.

On Sunday the performances will be dedicated to the hundreds of volunteers who make Fiesta Filipino happen.

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