About 2,000 people watched the colorful 25-minute parade wind through the downtown streets. Law enforcement officials estimated that 7,000 came downtown throughout the day during the event.
This is the third year Linda Meza and her family — which is active in the community and founded the band Ilusion Nortena — put on the celebration downtown and on Plaza Circle.
Meza thanked those who turned out for the party.
“We want to continue to have the event and have more people of all races participating,” Meza said. “It’s for everybody. It’s worth it in the end.”
Meza and her family spent a whole year preparing for the September event to celebrate their Mexican ancestry. .
“We put all this together, just the Meza family — there are nine of us,” she explained.
Latin Grammy award winners Tiranos Del Norte and nominees El Potro de Sinalao and classic norteño-style entertainers Los Cadetes de Linares were among the bands, as well as Ilusion Nortena, the Meza family’s band, which elicited cheers from fans in downtown’s North and South parks.
Folkloric dancers from Patterson High School and from the neighboring town of Newman also performed.
Though some community members thought the music was too loud — it could be heard for blocks around the Plaza Circle — Meza said the music was toned down because of complaints the year before.
A large children’s area contained a giant slide and carnival rides for the younger crowd. Food vendors kept the stomachs of attendees full, while school booth workers — who ran a dunk tank and food booths — could keep money from items sold at their booths, Meza said.
Money raised from the carnival and soda and water sales will also go to local schools, she said, though as of Tuesday, Meza did not know the total amount generated.
The Meza family foots the bill for the local sheriff’s department to keep everyone safe and for private security firm JS Protection Service to frisk all the men and check women’s handbags as they entered the celebration.
“We do this for everybody’s safety and to make sure no one carries knives and weapons, because later in the day there are masses of people that stand together,” Meza said. “It’s for everyone’s safety — we’ve had no fights.”
Meza, who coordinated Fiestas Patrinas for the past three years, said the event is all about the younger generation.
“I do it for the schools to come out and participate,” she said. “I want the kids from the schools to participate. During the year, we do different activities to keep the students focused on positive things. We conduct dances for them to stay in Patterson, stay focused and not be out doing things they are not supposed to do, especially the high school kids who are out and about.”
• Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187, ext. 22, or firstname.lastname@example.org.