Archive for Monday, June 15, 2009

Annual St. John’s Fiesta nears again

Bert Bermudez, left, and Irene Langford sort through pinto beans Friday to make sure they are clean and ready for cooking for the St. John’s Mexican Fiesta. About 250 pounds of beans are used for the event.

Bert Bermudez, left, and Irene Langford sort through pinto beans Friday to make sure they are clean and ready for cooking for the St. John’s Mexican Fiesta. About 250 pounds of beans are used for the event.

June 15, 2009


28th Annual St. John’s Mexican Fiesta

The fiesta runs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1234 Ky.


6 p.m.-10 p.m., authentic Mexican food

6 p.m.-7 p.m., St. John’s Fiesta Dancers

7:30 p.m.-11 p.m., Son Venzuela


5:30 p.m., Mariachi Habaneros

6 p.m.-10 p.m., authentic Mexican food

6 p.m.-7 p.m., St. John’s Fiesta Dancers

7:30 p.m.-11 p.m., Grupo Picante performs

Carnival games all evening

It began as a small fundraiser in the church basement with a boom box and a burrito make. Now, 28 years later, there’s no boom box at St. John’s annual Mexican Fiesta, but there are plenty of burritos and a whole lot of music.

Burritos, tamales and enchiladas will line the tables at this year’s event June 26 and 27. Volunteers have begun making food in order to feed the 15,000 people expected to attend the two-night affair.

“The backbone of the fiesta is the food,” said Frank Lemus, St. John’s Mexican Fiesta chairman. “Those ladies (who cook) are really the unsung heroes of this whole thing.”

The event has grown so large it requires more than 300 volunteers to get it off the ground. But one volunteer stands out in particular, according to Fiesta organizers.

Buddy Langford began volunteering with the Fiesta in 1985 when his wife, who had been a volunteer, became ill with Lupus and was hospitalized.

“She was so concerned that she wasn't going to be able to do anything so I told her that I would make up for whatever she had to do,” Langford said. “I made a promise that I'd do all I could.”

He’s been volunteering at the Fiesta ever since.

“Becoming involved and then getting associated with the other people within the Mexican community, that was just a blessing in disguise,” Langford said. “We've always done it together ever since that first time.”

Lemus said Langford was a “driving force” behind organizing the event every year.

“He's the kind of guy that helps us cross a lot of t’s dot a lot of i’s,” Lemus said. “He's really donated a lot to this fiesta.”


Danimal 9 years ago

No joke lisabeth, it's like Brianne just stopped writing without wrapping things up.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

I am very proud of St. Johns for working so hard, and so successfully to integrate our Mexican brothers and sisters into our, now their, community. It is possible to hold on to your own culture and share it. Funny how sharing what you have with others doesn't diminish what you have. It increases what you are.

kidicarus 9 years ago

"ArumerZwarteHoop (Anonymous) says…

How about an annual go back to Mexico festival."

Who? Catholics?

ralphralph 9 years ago

Let's see, we covered who, what, when, why, and how. Oh, yes, we need to cover 'where'. That must have been intended for the unwritten wrap-up sentence.

"The fiesta will be held at (insert location)___", e.g.

MeAndFannieLou 9 years ago

St. John's School - not sure the address but it's on the west edge of South Park.

Arumer- it's never too late for us all to go back to where our ancestors came from. Go ahead, you first.

Cait McKnelly 9 years ago

A great number of Hispanic families in this country, especially ones in the Midwest, have been here for well over 100 years. They were brought in by the Santa Fe Railroad to work as labor on the tracks and in other hard labor intensive jobs. The Hispanic district of Argentine in KCKS was originally founded by those workers and the East Topeka Hispanic district was it's sibling. So just how long to do you have to be here to be considered "American" Arumer (you with the Dutch screen name)? Obviously the fact that people in these districts are raised bilingual shouldn't bother you since you're so familiar with a non-English language yourself. Shall we go the next round, hmmm?

Cait McKnelly 9 years ago

"....yet Europeans are still expected to immigrate legally, and learn English."

Then tell me why there are Eastern Europeans living in the Strawberry Hill district in KCKS that have been here nearly their entire lives yet still can't speak English. The Serbian Orthodox Church there holds Mass in Croation every Sunday.

coolmarv 9 years ago

The address is 1234 Kentucky.

Is I may have once had a 'redneck' mentality and greater prejudices toward the Hispanic community, St John's church and community and those involved with the Fiesta have softened my views (opened my eyes) over the years. Maybe I am just older and wiser. The Hispanic community at St Johns are very active and a pleasure to worship with. Count me in for the Fiesta.

denak 9 years ago

I can't speak for whether or not there is Mass in Croatian but I drive through Strawberry Hill quite a lot to get to my son's school and just from observation, there seems to be very few Eastern Europeans living in that area anymore. Again just from observation, it seems as if the racial demographic has shifted from White, Eastern European to one that is predominately African-American, Caucasian American(born and raised) and Hispanic.

Certainly, when I was growing up in Kansas City in the 1970's and 1980's, Strawberry Hill was known for being most Eastern European but even then it was one generation removed from the "mother country." I had quite a number of friends whose grandparents were from Eastern Europe but who spoke only English.

Lastly, if a chuch wants to celebrate the Mass in a langauge other than English, good for it. The Mass is about community and fellowship and that community and fellowship still exist whether or not it is in English, Spanish, Korean or Navajo.


Cait McKnelly 9 years ago

Yeah that was my mistake. I grew up in KC and graduated from HS in 1971 so it's been a long time since I was in that area. My bad about the language thing. I had a girlfriend who lived just a couple of blocks from the Serbian Orthodox Church but that was back like 40 years ago. There still did seem to be a pretty heavy concentration of East Europeans in Strawberry Hill in the '80's. Past mayor Carol Marinovich was from there. I was trying to make a point in response to a pretty racist couple of posts that have since been removed (something else that makes my own posts look weird). Trust me, my heart was in the right place. To my knowledge east Argentine is still pretty heavily Hispanic. Don't know if they still do but St. John the Evangelist Church there used to hold Mass in Spanish. Again, don't know if they still do but there was a church on Wornall out around Gregory Blvd that held Mass in Gaelic and also used to do Mass in traditional Latin. Point is this is America and unless you happen to be an American Indian we all came from somewhere else at some point to get here. I dunno, xenophobia just seems somehow UnAmerican.

Christine Pennewell Davis 9 years ago

my how a thread just stops being about the article and something completely diffrent.

Christine Pennewell Davis 9 years ago

The fiesta is on friday from 6pm to 11pm and sat. from 530pm to 11pm.

dandelion 9 years ago

cait48, You're responses don't seem weird at all. It was expected that the bigots would come out of the woodwork. There are several on this forum.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years ago

"So if you caught Serbian Orthodox speaking in Croatian, then you must have been in an alternate universe."

Actually, most linguists do not consider "Serbian" and "Croatian" to be distinct languages. The predominant language throughout the former Yugoslavia (including Muslim Bosnia) is called Serbo-Croatian, although you are correct that in Catholic Croatia it's written in Latin script, while in Serbia they use the Cyrillic alphabet.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

Meanwhile back in Lawrence where the story is set, at St. John the Evangelist Church, there is going to be a fiesta. Fiesta means party, happy people, singing people. Where ever the Catholic sun doth shine, There is music, laughter, and good red wine, At least I have always found it so, Benedictimus domino. Carpe diem.

Graczyk 9 years ago

I went to the Cinco de Mayo celebration in St. John's basement. Good time and good food! I imagine this one will be just as fun.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years ago

Don't forget: Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe St. Patricks Day Octoberfest Italianfest Lent Fridays Knights of Columbus breakfasts.

And, yet our Father is so skinny. God must favor some people is all I can say. If you have a tee shirt from last year wear it to let people know about the event.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.