2015 Las Vegas Fiestas
New Adventures Down Old Trails TM
If history is the best predictor of the future, then the 2015 Fourth of July Fiestas will be a grand Reunion with plenty of fun to be had by all. This year’s theme genuinely takes on the persona of Las Vegas, “New Adventures Down Old Trails TM.” The Fiestas, long steeped in history is flavored with reunions and gatherings. The festivities were not always commemorative of Fourth of July, but celebrations have occurred in multiple forms since the birth of Las Vegas in 1835. The Fiestas, to some degree, came as tributes to the religious feast days of St. Santiago y Santa Ana in late July. Activities in the early days were colorful with activities such as “la corrida del gallo” a competitive polo type game with galloping horses, roosters, and cock fights. Imagine senoritas (young ladies) and caballeros (gentleman) who paraded through town to show their availability for marriage. To this day, the Fiestas include dances, entertainment and music resonating throughout the Historic Plaza and downtown area. A history of a town united, separated and reunited dictates the locations around Las Vegas where the Fiestas were celebrated. Fiestas, because of its history became the scene of a “battle of the bands,” with bands from the East Side and West Side attempting to “out brass” each other.
Las Vegas became the home to Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Rider Reunion and for many years was held on or near the Fourth of July and Las Vegas will always be the official Rough Rider home, “to the last man.” A working Cowboy Reunion converged upon Las Vegas annually with rodeos and parades and bull fights. Bullfights weren’t the only fights to occur, the world heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, defended himself against Jim Flynn causing fireworks of sorts on July 4, 1912.
All of the stories, and the festivities would not be complete, of course, without a dose of royalty; every year “La Reina” is chosen to grace the Fiestas. The present day celebration remains authentic and true to Fiestas heritage. Music still fills the air, families, cowboys, veterans, old and new friends still gather, still laugh, still share stories over a meal and pass the tradition and fun to new generations. The Fiestas offer a time to revisit history down trails of celebrations past and create new adventures in Fiestas present.