After spending more than one year in a COVID-imposed hibernation, Odessa residents left little doubt that they were ready to get outdoors again and celebrate. Hundreds of people quickly began pouring into the Fiesta West Texas event that kicked off Friday at Ector County Coliseum.
“It’s like taking a breath of fresh air,” said Odessa resident Juan Yanez, who arrived at the event with his wife Brianna shortly after gates opened at 5 p.m.
“We’ve all been cooped up for so long. It feels so good be around other people. It feels like life is starting to return to normal.”
Event organizers were also excited to be back so the community could celebrate Fiesta West Texas’s 25th anniversary, a three-day event that concludes on Sunday.
“Last year would have been our 25th anniversary, but we had to cancel the event due to COVID last year,” event organizer Richard Esparza said. “We were one of the first major events in Odessa to be canceled last year.
“We’re not sure what kinds of crowds to expect this year. Normally, we draw 20,000 people every year, over three days.”
The fiesta kicked off at 5 p.m. Friday and ends at midnight. Saturday’s hours are 2 p.m. to midnight and Sunday 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
This year’s event features concerts by some of the hottest names in Mexican music, including Los Pescadores, Siggno, Los Rieleros Del Norte and Perdidos De Sinaloa.
Special attractions this weekend include Sea Lion shows inside the coliseum, pig races and ongoing tradition Mexican folk dance performances by various dance groups.
Carnival rides and dozens of food and craft vendors are also participating this year.
“This is our first year participating at this event,” said Bobbye Vernell Cadena, owner of New Mexico-based All Nations Designs & More. “We’re glad to be here and hope we do well.
Cadena’s booth carried a variety of Native American and Mexican arts and crafts, blankets, clothing and jewelry.
For more information about festival events visit fiestawesttexas.com.