An Introduction to Fiesta Pensacola

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Fiesta

“To celebrate our heritage, promote tourism, and build pride in Pensacola through festive activities which enhance the quality of life in our community.”

Fiesta Pensacola, founded in 1949 as the Fiesta of Five Flags, began as an event to promote summer tourism and celebrate the founding of Pensacola. Fiesta has since grown into a local nonprofit business that operates several local events, including an annual Seafood Festival, Crawfish Festival, Children’s Treasure Hunt, and a ten-day Heritage Festival in early June.

Fiesta’s small staff of just four people work with local partners, annual and event sponsors, and hundreds of volunteers to organize public and private events that take place throughout the year.

Whether you are new to town or are an established Pensacolian, here is everything you need to know about Fiesta, including a list of events that take place throughout the year and how to get involved.

Fiesta Season (June 2 – June 12, 2021)

Spanish Conquistador Tristan de Luna y Arellano, or Don Tristan de Luna, established Pensacola in 1559. De Luna hoped to create the first permanent European settlement in the United States. However, a hurricane shortly ended the claim to permanent settlement. Nonetheless, Pensacola still holds the honor of being the first European settlement in the United States.

The festival initially celebrated this founding, as well as the flags of the five countries that have flown over the city. In recent years, however, Fiesta has evolved to celebrate different time periods in Pensacola and highlight historical figures while recognizing their impact on our city.

Several events will be held during the 10-day celebration:

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 – Fiesta Days Celebration at Seville Quarter (7-10pm)

Join the “Surrender of the City” at Phineas Phoggs where local officials “surrender” the City of Pensacola and its citizens to DeLuna for the Fiesta Season. Adults only. Tickets available for purchase ($42/person).

Friday, June 4, 2021 – Grand Fiesta Parade in Downtown Pensacola (7pm)

Floats, marching bands, and beads! Who doesn’t love a good parade? A special appearance will be made by a masked DeLuna, his Queen, and their Court. A fun event for the entire family! (FREE)

Saturday, June 5, 2021 – Fiesta Boat Parade (see website for details)

Watch this colorful parade of boats on Pensacola Bay. The best viewpoints will be from Sanders Beach-Corinne Jones Resource Center or Plaza de Luna in Downtown Pensacola.

Thursday, June 10, 2021 – Fiesta All Krewe Ball 

Join DeLuna, his Queen, and their Court for this annual celebration. Adults only. Click here to purchase tickets ($42/person).

Seafood Festival (September 24 – September 26, 2021)

Location: Downtown Pensacola

Savor delicious seafood, enjoy various musical acts and immerse yourself in historic downtown Pensacola during the Annual Pensacola Seafood Festival. This festival is one of the largest arts and crafts fairs in Northwest Florida with more than 150 artisans and craftsmen who travel from around the country to participate. There is also a dedicated children’s area with games and lots of fun, making this a great family-friendly event!

Children’s Treasure Hunt (April 2022)

Location: Downtown Pensacola, Museum Plaza

This FREE event takes place every April for children ages three to ten years old. There are games for children and families, face painting, snow cones, an interactive scavenger hunt as well as prize drawings based on age group (bicycles, summer camp sessions, water activities, and so much more!).

Crawfish Festival (April 2022)

Location: Downtown Pensacola

The Pensacola Crawfish Company cooks and sells thousands of pounds of crawfish over the course of this three-day festival. Live music, arts & crafts, and several other food vendors provide plenty of fun for the entire family!

Whether it’s coming to a festival to enjoy live music and fresh seafood or volunteering or sponsoring an event, there’s something for everyone, and all are welcome.

Volunteering With Fiesta Forces

The Fiesta Forces, with over 400 members, is the manpower behind all the events which Fiesta coordinates. Our volunteers believe in the organization, share a love for Pensacola, joyfully donate their time, and work tirelessly.

While some Pensacolians can trace their family back to the early years, I cannot. My family moved to Pensacola in 2002. Yet this transplant status did not prevent me from becoming involved in this organization.

Fiesta

Fiesta grew from just a volunteer opportunity to part of my Pensacola identity.

Over time, my perception of the organization has shifted from a well-oiled machine to thinking of Fiesta as my extended family. I am so grateful to the friends who encouraged me to get involved so many years ago.

As a stay-at-home mom and “retired” C.P.A., Fiesta filled a void in my life. I used some of my professional gifts outside the home without the commitment of a “real” job. I started small. First, as a Fiesta Days Decorations committee member, then Seafood Festival Decorations committee member, then the Decorations chair, and Fiesta Costume Committee and Co-Chair. I loved the behind-the-scenes work required to make everything run smoothly.

Fiesta

After those jobs and a few others, I was invited to serve on the Association Board. Through the trust and encouragement of others, I received the honor of serving as President of the Fiesta Association for the last year and a half.

Through Fiesta you meet all kinds of people. Sometimes, working and sweating next to someone for a few hours or a few days (if you are like the many of us who cannot stay away) provides opportunities for more than just polite conversation.

Over time, bonds develop, and the acquaintances become friends and then like family. When one of the Fiesta family needs a helping hand or a hug, the others rally to their support. So much so that Fiesta is now one of the first things I recommend to someone new in town.

More often than not, Fiesta volunteers build lasting friendships that transcend other aspects of life.

Volunteer to work a shift with Fiesta Forces, attend a festival or other event. You won’t be disappointed.

You don’t have to be “from Pensacola” to be a part of Fiesta.

Everyone is welcome.

Fiesta

 

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