A 129-Year Tradition Continues at Canyon Elementary

(Editor’s note: Photographer Rich Schmitt captured some exquisite shots of the event. To view others, which are available for purchase, visit:http://richschmittphotography.com/fiesta43023/)

A Mariachi band performed at the Canyon Elementary School festival.
Photo: Rich Schmitt

In 1894, a large patch of land in Rustic Canyon was donated by the Marquez family, who were the Mexican landowners for the creation of Canyon Elementary School. The sole requirement was that a fiesta be held every year.

Fast forward 129 years later, the fiesta is still going strong at Canyon Elementary.

The event was organized for the second year in a row by Canyon parent Rebecca Pople-Williams and was funded by several generous sponsors like Dunkin’ Donuts and Golden Bull Restaurant.

The fiesta, naturally, was covered in Hispanic imagery everywhere, from pinatas to painted skulls to sombreros. Live music was also provided by a mariachi band.

No fiesta is complete without good food, and Canyon’s fiesta brought it in spades. With caterers like Sweetfin, In-n-Out, and Dunkin’ Donuts, there was more than enough food for the hundreds of excited attendees.

There was also a chili cook off, with entries submitted by Canyon parents and judged by Fire Station 69 firemen. This year’s winner was Cliff Roberts, who humorously titled his entry “Netflix and Chili,” which I got to try thanks to the 10 tickets the event organizers graciously gave me. I have to say, it was deserving of the prize.

A cake decorating contest has also been held for the last 50 years. This year it was run by parent Erin Fotos and there were close to 30 entries that were judged in four categories.

The “Nature” winner was Penny and Brandon Buch; the “Realistic” winner was Harvey Nakano; the “Sport” winner was Siva Gamble and the “Entertainment” winner was Mika Rae Tatum.

Then the real fun started when all submissions were entered into a cake disco fundraiser, which is a kind of musical chairs, and the winners get to claim a cake of their choice.

For the excited kids, Canyon’s fiesta was firing on all cylinders. Bouncy houses, carnival games like the ring toss, and a petting zoo full of dogs brought by shelter Wagmor were just a few of the attractions.

Children were allowed to pet animals from the Wagmor shelter during the Fiesta.
Photo: Rich Schmitt

Humanitarian group Le Petit Cirque also made an appearance. The group was a troupe of circus performers who all happen to be under 18. They balanced on stilts, did mime routines, and pulled off impressively flexible poses for an adoring crowd.

Adults could also take part in the Canyon auction, which offered impressive prizes like jewelry, gift cards, a bike, and a 6-foot-tall gift basket of exclusive Super Mario merchandise.

“This event represents the school coming together to run an event for the community,” said organizer Rebecca Pople-Williams. “But I suppose this year for us it’s also a reunion, now that Covid has ended and we’re free to enjoy each other’s company again.”

“Next year is going to be the 130th anniversary of this tradition,” said Canyon principal Nicole Sheard. “We keep getting better each year, and I’m excited to see what will happen next year.”

Members of La Petite Cirque performed at the Fiesta.
Photo: Rich Schmitt

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One Response to A 129-Year Tradition Continues at Canyon Elementary

  1. Cindy Simon says:

    Amazing photo of the acrobats! 👍 to photographer Rich Schmitt

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