City approves grant for Fiestaval

Latino festival-goers will get to salsa on a downtown street once again after organizers of a one-day summer event received $15,000 from the City of Red Deer.

Latino festival-goers will get to salsa on a downtown street once again after organizers of a one-day summer event received $15,000 from the City of Red Deer.

City council granted the money on Monday, paving the way for organizers of the Fiestaval Latin Street Festival to get moving on their Saturday, Aug. 20, event at the intersection of Ross Street and Gaetz Avenue.

The Downtown Business Association — which contributed $7,500 and another $1,000 support-in-kind — asked the city to be a partner. The money from the city will come in the way of a $10,000 grant through the Downtown Revitalization Fund (minor capital dollars), plus another $5,000 from the tax stabilization reserve.

Association executive director Evelyn Storm told council that if the event didn’t receive the money, it wouldn’t go ahead because no other sponsors had been sought.

Charity Dyke, Greater Downtown co-ordinator, said that the organizers applied for fee-for-service funding through the City of Red Deer but due to the huge demand, they were unable to get any dollars.

Additional sponsorship wasn’t secured because the event’s viability was uncertain, she added.

The Downtown Business Association participated with organizers of Fiestaval to offer the first Latino festival of its kind in Central Alberta, attracting 8,000 participants. A similar festival runs in Calgary in July, so essentially the entertainers are the same.

Fiestaval offers people the chance to see Latin bands and shows, plus experience authentic food and other fun activities for young and old.

“We have such a large Latino-based population, it just fits really beautifully,” said Storm.

Storm was hopeful that they wouldn’t be back next year seeking money from the city.

“We may apply for a fee-for-service contract, which is very customary,” she said.

Councillor Cindy Jefferies said it’s important to breathe life into an event that is just in its infancy.

The key proponent of the Red Deer Community Cultural Vision looks at supporting new events like this, said Councillor Paul Harris.

But Councillor Chris Stephan wondered about giving money to the organizers, particularly when a city adjudicating committee that gives out money to various groups turned them down. He was the sole one to oppose giving the $15,000.

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