Between 7,000 and 10,000 people attended the 18th annual Fiesta Mexicana Saturday at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.
Many people came for the authentic Mexican food, traditional dancing and the company of friends, but for Joe Chavez and hundreds of other Lawrence children there were 6,000 other reasons to attend the Fiesta Mexicana.
Undaunted by the humidity and temperatures in the 80s, thousands of people packed the St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church grounds in the 1200 block of Kentucky for the 18th festival.
Chavez, 10, clutched three gray cardboard egg cartons. His cargo represented a fraction of the 6,000 confetti-filled eggshells that were a hot commodity among the younger crowd at the fiesta. Church members saved their eggshells throughout the year, and 500 dozen eggs were available for 35 cents each or could be traded for tickets earned at the fiesta's carnival games.
"Sometimes, if I know the person, I'll just go, 'Boom' and smash it down on them," said Chavez, his hand stained dark blue with the dye from the egg he was holding.
"You just go like this," said his friend Jordan Selk, 10, slamming one of the brightly colored eggs down on Chavez's head, spraying bits of paper everywhere.
Over in the food line, which stretched half a block down Kentucky street and half a block down 13th Street, Stephanie Brown, 7, had confetti clinging to her hair.
"I'll egg you, mister," she told her brother, Dustin, 9, who had "egged" her already.
"He waits all year to get her with an egg," said their father, Glenn Brown, Lawrence.
Even with an hourlong wait at times for the tamales, burritos, rice and tacos, there were no complaints.
"It's worth it," said Kathy Garrett. "It's a good community event."
The Rev. Charles Polifka, beer in hand and a large green sombrero on his head, said the weather was perfect.
"I like to wear hats for different occasions," Polifka said. "It's a great celebration; everybody has a lot of fun."
Event chair Buddy Langford said countless people pitch in to make it happen.
"I can't even begin to tell you all the people that make this possible," Langford said.
-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.