While Mexico will celebrate the 200th anniversary of its independence from Spain next week, Chanute is presenting its 93rd annual Mexican Fiesta this weekend at Santa Fe Park.

From its inception in 1917, the fiesta has grown with Chanute’s Mexican American community. The fiesta started among Mexican immigrants who came to work on the Santa Fe Railroad. Many lived in boxcars in what was then called the “Little Mexico” section of Chanute. From “Little Mexico,” the fiesta later moved to the more spacious Santa Fe Park.

This weekend’s activities began Friday with the crowning of the fiesta queen, Cydney Coronado of Chanute, and will continue today with the Ishmael Martinez Auto Show beginning at 9 a.m., a folkloric program at 11 a.m. and evening events at 7 p.m. There will be plenty of food and fun.

Statistics indicate that Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic group in Kansas, and the Chanute Mexican Fiesta offers area residents a unique opportunity to share in Mexican culture.

— Harold Campbell

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