The much anticipated Fiesta on Wells took place on Sunday, September 19 with a large turnout of both vendors and participants. The annual celebration, which normally occurs near the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, returned for the first time since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Spectators were treated to lots of traditional Latino street foods and drinks, lots of live performances of traditional dances as well as bands who played popular covers of Spanish songs as families and friends danced the afternoon away.
But the deeper implication of the return of Fiesta on Wells was not lost on the crowd itself. Geraldo Martinez, a Reno resident “born and raised” here, described the event as a way for Latinos to celebrate their culture in a public way. It also allows local small businesses to promote their goods and services once again directly to the community.
“This Fiesta is a great way for the Latino community in Reno to grow, and it allows small businesses from the neighborhood to get their names out there and expand,” Martinez said. “It’s awesome that the Fiesta is back this year!”
Not only were small businesses represented as vendors but there were health clinics and other community-based organizations too. Nuestra Salud, an organization that provides medical screenings to underserved populations here in Reno, shared health education materials, checked attendee’s body mass index, screened for diabetes and checked blood pressure. Those that didn’t have medical insurance or are undocumented were referred to the Community Health Alliance on Wells Avenue for more personalized care.
Medical student and Nuestra Salud volunteer Diego Alcala described being glad to serve the community again at Fiesta on Wells.
“This is a good starting point. We want to get this program back because Covid shut us down,” Alcala said. “So we are trying to kick it backup and this event is helping to springboard us back into the community.”
From the smiles on the crowd, it appeared that Fiesta on Wells was a hit this year. The community seemed ready to once again venture outdoors to support local businesses, gain access to healthcare, and learn more about what organizations are doing in the Reno and Northern Nevada area.