130 Years of Celebrating Fiesta in the Canyon

There were crowds at the annual Canyon School Fiesta.

The annual Canyon Elementary School Fiesta was held on May 19, at the school at 421 Entrada Drive. This was the 130th year of holding a fiesta at the second-oldest surviving school in L.A. County.

“I would like to thank the parent volunteers who gave so much time and energy to make Fiesta a success,” said Nicole Sheard, Canyon School Principal. “The event is completely volunteer run, and we couldn’t do without them.”

On hand to do some serious judging were the firefighters from Station 69. First up was the chili cookoff. This year’s winner was Valerie Friedrich with “Val’s Traditional Steak Chili.”

Next the firefighters were tasked with judging the four different categories of the Cake Decorating Contest. Winning with his sports cake was Mike Fishel. The Nature cale winner was Siva Gamble. Sam Newmark won with his “entertainment” cake and in the realistic category Erika Loubek took first.

Fiesta organizer Rebecca Pople with Fire Station 69, who judged chili and cakes.

Canyon alumni came back to play games.

Too many sweets? Maybe a cup of coffee. Luxxe Coffee donated all the caffeine for the event.

There were about 12 carnival games for students to play. The winners were able to go to the “Prize Booth” to exchange tickets for toys.

The Uplifters Ranch, owners Staci Woo and Mike Badt click here sold Canyon wear and also had a customized option for people to create their own T-shirt designs.

Prior to the event, the school ran a design competition for students to design the Fiesta 2024 T-Shirt.

“These sold and raised a lot of money for the school before the event,” said Fiesta organizer Rebecca Pople. “Kids could then wear the new T-shirt and get in free to the Fiesta.”

The students who had the winning T-shirt designs this year were: Harvey Nakano, Lila Nayebdadash, Fox Williams and Siva Gamble.

Providing entertainment during the day was Bob Barkers Marionettes.

One of the most imaginative fundraisers at Canyon is “Bring a Thing” boxes.

Children fill a box with gently-used toys and other items. They then decorate the individual box, which are sold at the Fiesta for five tokens. “These always sell out,” Pople said.

Not only family and community members had fun, but Circling the News Photographer, Rich Schmitt proclaimed “the food is great!”

Sponsors for the Fiesta included: Sweetfin, Sandy Days Kids Camp, Dunkin Donuts, Canyon Square, Newmark, Ryan Jancula, Cindy Ambhuel and Bjorn Farrugia.

Face painting was one of the events at Canyon.

Canyon School opened on Sycamore Road in October 1894. The one-room school moved to Channel Road in 1912. When that area was annexed by Los Angeles, in 1925, it became part of the Los Angeles School District.

The land Canyon school is located on, was at one time part of a Mexican land grant known as Rancho Boca de Santa Monica. The land for the school was donated by the heirs to the Rancho, the Marquez Family.

Fiesta was a celebration within the Rancho community and an integral part of the Canyon. When the land grant was given to the school, there was a requirement in the grant, that the tradition of the Fiesta continue.

Fiesta has gone through several incarnations, from picnics to art shows to carnivals. As times have changed, school district requirements have evolved, but Fiesta has continued as a celebration of family and pure fun.

On the Canyon School website under Fiesta there is a black and white photo with the caption: “Dancers in the Historical Pageant at the 1935 Fiesta, including young Ernest and Theresa Marquez” click here.

A Mariachi Band played at the Fiesta.

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