Ohio Avenue in downtown Sedalia was filled with the aroma of authentic Mexican food, the sounds of a mariachi band and cheers for dancers, and the sights of brightly colored banners and many vendor booths Sunday afternoon for the inaugural Sedalia Hispanic Heritage Festival.
“I think we had an amazing turnout,” Cecilia Adame, one of the event organizers, said as Mariachi Mexico took the stage to loud cheers from the crowd. “I’m thrilled to see all these people here. I’m pumped for next year already. I’m just so thankful for the sponsors and volunteers who put this event together.”
Visitors were treated to about seven food booths with items such as homemade tamales, drinks and a variety of tacos, as well as typical street fair food like funnel cakes, kettle corn and corn dogs. Kids could get their faces painted or take a turn in the bounce house at the corner of Fifth Street and Ohio Avenue. Many area businesses also had booths set up downtown.
“I’m pleased,” Adame said of the variety of vendors. “The minute we decided to do this, everyone jumped in to help. I’m pleased and happy to see how this community has come together.”
Throughout the afternoon festival, which kicked off with a 5Que! run at 9 a.m., a stage in front of the Pettis County Courthouse featured entertainment from Mariachi Mexico and dancers from El Grupo Atotohilco. The dancers, all from Kansas City, ranged in age from 5 years old to high school and are sponsored by the Guadalupe Center in Kansas City.
While many visitors to the event were Hispanic, attendees included people from a variety cultures, backgrounds and cities. Kathy Garza, along with her daughter Emma, both of Warrensburg, were at the festival enjoying a plate of freshly-made tacos with Donna Holt. Kathy said she came Sunday because her husband is Mexican, and while he was unable to attend, she was bringing him home a to-go plate of tacos.
Adame said she hopes the Hispanic Heritage Festival continues for years to come to continue that sense of community.
“I’m a second-generation (Hispanic) and hopefully the next generations can keep this going,” she said. “Not just for the Hispanic community but for all of Sedalia. It’s our culture and we want to share it. We want everyone to be part of it.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.