It just so happens to be Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States, and what better way to celebrate than to attend the Fiesta DC festival in our nation’s capital? This festival is called the Latino Festival of Washington, but is lovingly referred to as Fiesta DC. One day a year, usually in September, Hispanic organizations organize a parade, food vendors, arts and crafts, and much more. I was so happy to go this year.

Street view of Fiestas DC

We got up a little late this morning. We were up all night talking and joking, and we had to drag ourselves to our rooms to sleep. At about 11 a.m. we were fighting the alarm clock, but it was time to get up. The lady at the front desk told us that if we didn’t get out to the parade area by noon, then we might as well not go because we’d never find a spot. The day’s events started at 11 a.m., and by the time we got there, I felt like we had missed so much already! We had to take the metro to get there, but it was cool. The DC Metro is easy to follow, and before we knew it, we were getting off in Columbia Heights.

We maneuvered through the crowd and managed to find a spot big enough for the group. There was space on the sidewalk edge and some standing room behind it. We decided to alternate sitting and standing so no one would get tired, so by 1:30, when the parade started, no one was tired from standing or sitting for a long time.

This parade was called the Parade of Nations. All the Spanish-speaking countries from Argentina to Venezuela were represented. The people from each country that passed had on colors from their country’s flag. Some groups had people who were actually waving their flag, others had dancers, and everyone had a convertible with people waving from inside. There was plenty of Latin music, so of course we were dancing the whole time. The one country that stood out to me the most was Mexico. They had these women dressed in carnival costumes with huge green feather headdresses and a red feather tail that went all the way to the ground. Across their stomachs was the word “Veracruz.” I’d heard that Carnaval in Veracruz was amazing.

Bolivian Dancer at Fiestas DC

After all 19 groups that represent the Spanish-speaking countries had passed we were still on a music and entertainment high. The festival was still going on, so I went to get my face painted and to eat my weight in speared meat and churros. Before we knew it, it was 7pm and the police were trying to clear the area. The festival was over, but we still wanted to stay and enjoy the atmosphere. There were still thousands of people around, the music was still blaring, children were still getting balloon animals from the clowns, and the food vendors were just starting to pack up. It was sooooooo fun! I want to make sure I come back next year to do it all over again.