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Over 500 people came out to the 72nd annual OLA Fiesta for a family day of fun, entertainment and food on Saturday at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Claremont. The event spanned from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., so families could make an entire day of fun for the weekend.
The OLA Fiesta is an annual event that the city hosts to raise money for the church to participate in more activities, including funding school programs. The event was held from Friday through Sunday for Mother’s Day.
“OLA Fiesta is a way for our community to get together,” said volunteer Melissa Morris. “We all meet in church, but to be able to come out to the community on our own terms and help give back to the church, such as rebuilding it.”
Vendors sold a variety of food in different cultures, from traditional Mexican food such as tacos and burritos to Vietnamese plates and treats including boba. Others sold alcohol for the adults, raffle tickets for prizes such as cookies and miniature toy hats and even tickets to enjoy a few carnival style rides.
Desserts such as ice cream and cotton candy were sold at various booths. Paul Lee, volunteer, has ran a cotton candy booth for several years with his wife and continued to sell it to help out the church.
“My wife and I have been running the cotton candy booth for years and we continue to do it not only for the love but also to come out and be around fellow Christians and serve the community,” Lee said.
One vendor raised funds by selling cards to play Loteria, a popular game in the Mexican culture that is traditionally played like regular Bingo with the same rules.
Roberto Roman of Loteria Mexicana of Los Angeles chose Loteria due to its popularity and pitched the idea to the church three years ago.
“I pitched Loteria to the priest and I told him it was Mexican Bingo,” Roman said. “I told him to give me the green light and I’ll take care of the rest. They like this booth, so hopefully it’ll stay for years.”
Gail D’Souza, a member of the Falconers, a Christian band that performs during Sunday morning mass, enjoys how the event is a wise way to bring the city together and have fun with families for an entire weekend.
“I think it’s a great way for them to bring together the community and have events for kids and bringing everyone to celebrate the culture,” D’Souza said. “It’s doing something fun for the church community.”
Many volunteers attend Our Lady of the Assumption Parish every week, so attendees like Morris donate their time for a good cause while having fun with families.
“We’ve been coming here as a family for the last five years,” Morris said. “I was asked at the right time and why not be able to come out and enjoy the time and do something that feels good?”
Nicolette Rojo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.