The fourth annual installment of downtown Patterson's Fiestas Patrias event has been cancelled. The annual one day music and cultural event was originally scheduled to occur Saturday September 20, only a few days following Mexican Independence day which is Tuesday September 16.
During a meeting between Fiestas Patrias organizer Rosalinda Meza, and members of the city of Patterson including Rod Butler and Police Chief Tori Huges, Meza and her party were informed that the Fiestas Patrias event had been denied.
In the Thursday Sept. 11 edition of the Patterson Irrigator, Meza placed a half page ad explaining her side of the accounts that ensued.
By late Thursday the Irrigator received a response to Meza's ad from Interim City Manager Ken Irwin on official City of Patterson letterhead with instruction to post to our website. The Irrigator has granted this request and the letter is placed below. A full write up on the story is in the works.
September 11, 2014
Dear Community of Patterson,
Re: Fiesta Patrias
Recently, the City of Patterson denied an event application for the "Fiesta Patrias (International
Festival)." This decision was made after serious consideration of the event application, location,
and estimated attendance. The decision was not made by Chief Hughes, the Sheriff’s
Department, or the City Council. City staff, with input from all City departments, reached the
conclusion that the event plan, as submitted, could not be approved.
The City recognizes the significance and importance of Fiesta Patrias to members of the
Patterson community. While the decision to deny the application has understandably been
met with disappointment by some residents, it was made strictly with the wellbeing of the
entire community in mind.
Based on information from the event organizers, Fiesta Patrias drew over 10,000 attendees last
year. Event sponsors hoped to double the attendance this year. Due to a condensed schedule
for this one day event, plans for a live concert that would stretch late into the evening, the sale
of alcohol throughout the day and night, and more importantly, the sharp increase in the
expected attendance, the event’s growth raises serious concerns. Additionally, the City simply
could not approve an application that did not comply with event insurance requirements as
well as requirements from the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.
Fiestas Patrias supporters have voiced concerns that the decision to deny the application was
made for reasons other than a genuine interest in ensuring adequate event planning and public
safety. On the contrary, the City has focused its efforts on providing a safe and secure
environment for all families enjoying community events in Patterson. City staff worked
tirelessly with the organizers to coordinate an event that would enable members of our
community to celebrate Fiesta Patrias while accommodating the growth and popularity of this
occasion. Throughout the process, the organizers of Fiesta Patrias were given the opportunity
to submit a modified plan that would allow the event to move forward, but declined to do so.
While the City and event organizers have been unable to reach a solution, the City remains
committed to working with all members of the Patterson community in our continued effort to
provide an inclusive environment that celebrates the diversity of all Patterson residents.
Going forward, City staff is ready and willing to work closely with organizers to coordinate Fiesta
Patrias in a manner that addresses the planning needs for such a sizeable event. We take great
pride in the rich heritage of all residents of the City of Patterson, and remain dedicated to
celebrating the historical roots of our community.
Interim City Manager