When thinking about what to write for today’s column, I asked a friend, “what would you like to read about in the Mayor’s Desk this week?”
She said, “well, it is Fiesta weekend. Tell us what Fiesta is like from the mayor’s perspective.”
Fiesta planning begins during the winter months, and concludes with an After Action Report sometime in July.
The Fiesta Committee is very organized, and the committee and the city have our planning down pat. During the initial meeting, we review anticipated changes if any for the event, requirements for Public Works support, food inspections, support for the water sports, police coverage, emergency management, etc.
Also, Fiesta takes place at the very end of the fiscal year, so we are always watching to make sure there is enough money left in the budget to support the five-day celebration.
The Fiesta Committee takes over St. Peter’s Square a few weeks before the event, and that is the first visible sign to the community that Fiesta is coming. I bet everyone knows a child who counts the days to Fiesta by the progress that is made in hanging the banners and building the stage.
I frequently stop by during this phase and talk directly with the Committee members, and those working to build the stage, and raise the tents. I check in and ask how everything is going, are they getting the support they need, are there any changes in the plan.
This year, we have made a decision to heighten security and have higher visibility police presence. Police Chief Campanello worked with the Essex County Sheriff’s office along with the Massachusetts State Police to bring in additional resources.
As you make your way to Fiesta, this presence will be noticed, and I hope welcomed. At its heart, Fiesta is a community celebration meant for families and children, and we need to reinforce the message that it will remain a safe event for all.