A Reader Provides Some Info About Fiesta DC in Mt. Pleasant

IMG_1318, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

It seems the issue will be addressed at ANC 1 meeting Tuesday. Do you think the festival should be on Mt. Pleasant Street, 14th St. or elsewhere?

The reader writes:

“Fiesta DC wanted to move the festival to 14th Street. The fire department would not let them block off the street and so now they’re in a bind and want to return to Mt. Pleasant. The reaction seems generally negative, but it’s hard to tell if that’s just who is speaking up about it all. The concerns are:

— Road closures. Apparently in years past the festival blocked off a lot of streets, including Irving, which caused a huge cluster for the residents. There was also little notice about what roads were going to be closed, which added to the frustration.

— Safety. Apparently security has been an issue in the past.

— Clean up. Last year there wasn’t good clean up and the Mt. Pleasant residents/businesses were left to deal with this.

— Size. From the forums on this, it seems like a lot of people are concerned with how large the festival has gotten and the fact that it’s a city-wide Latino festival. There’s no Mt. Pleasant draw/relationship to it and no benefit to the neighborhood. Several people on the boards are suggesting the festival move to some place like RFK as there is no Mt. Pleasant tie and that the neighborhood put together their own festival.

— There seems to be some issue about money in all of this. They are a registered 501(c)3 charity, but at a meeting yesterday someone said they were a for-profit venture. That is causing some dustup and there’s concern about transparency.

The whole thing will be resolved on Tuesday at an early ANC 1 meeting.”

34 Comment

  • Move it up to Petworth, plenty of space up here! Live bands at Clark, street festival on upshur with another stage at georgia.

  • One of the problems with transparency was that the original handouts and documents about this were in Spanish only. I can read spanish, but it was a turn-off to be handed a flyer, turn it around and see Spanish on one side and a blank reverse.

    Then there’s this confusion over it being non-profit and for-profit and the question as to whether the community is being lied to or the organizers aren’t able to communicate or what.

    Mt Pleasant hasn’t been Latin-dominant since the Deauville burnt down 2 years ago- resulting in so little Latin street presence that lesser restaurants and other businesses went out of business soon after and the yoga studio moved in. Mt Pleasant is a mixed neighborhood. So the connection isn’t as strong as it was in 1991.

    Last year parking became a nightmare that lasted for about 3 days. There’s no place for resident’s cars once they shut down those streets and move the cars off, so there’s REALLY no place for more than 50 visitor’s cars.

    Last year restaurants complained that their receipts for the day were down due to the crowds not eating there. Then they had to clean up the trash the next day. There is an expectation that Mt Pleasant restaurants- and fewer and fewer are Latin- won’t be able to capitalize on this event.

    It’s the same-old same-old Fiesta from years past with nothing new and nothing creative to engage the community. One of my neighbors said it best, “this stuff was cool before I moved in, but I see it every day now.”

    I think it could be cool and that it has been cool in the past, but I think residents have good reason this time to sigh and shrug their shoulders at the cluster that this event has become.

  • Good explanation Neener, last year was my first and I had a really good time, I mean, like a great time, but then again, Im Latino so Im supposed to like fiestas!!!! But I see your point. It’s sad that a small group of people benefit in detriment of the community as a whole. I’ll follow this issue as much as I can….

  • I just checked their website (fiestadc.org) and I found this:

  • The festival doesn’t belong in Mt Pleasant — it’s been a nightmare the last two years.

    Residents haven’t been allowed back on their blocks (even when they have their own parking space!!), blocking off Irving St resulting in serious traffic problems all day, vendors (and then the festival organizers) not cleaning up at the end of the day….

    Why not take this down to Freedom Plaza and the Pennsylvania Ave area? That’s a better venue for this event/

  • First of all let me come clean I am a Latina. In the past I had to work a booth at the festival for an agency I worked at, and I think the festival is the worst!!!!

    The festival is a drawn for the whole metro area and like one of the commentators said has nothing to do w/ Mt Pleasant (and by the way the Adams Morgan Festival has nothing to do w/ A M either). They should move the festival to VA or PG Cnty MD.

  • I dunno, I don’t live in Mt P, but just down the road in CH, and I have really enjoyed going to Fiesta DC the last few years. The food is fantastic, the music is good, and the parade is a sight to see with all the dancers. Is it really that big a deal to have to deal with less parking for a day or two? Seems like a small price to pay for some culture. If you get rid of or move out things that are interesting in the name of convenience, you end up with a very sterile, boring, but oh so convenient, place to live.

  • Oh yeah, the Adams Morgan festival is absolute worst. Nothing at all to do with the neighborhood.

  • Ah Mt. Pleasant, continuing it’s decades old tradition of making sure that nothing interesting or fun can ever happen on Mt. Pleasant Street. Soon it will be the same way it was 90 years ago: not a single storefront except for The Raven. And everything will come full circle.

    The best ever was when they were filming that Russell Crowe movie and all the people in Mt. Pleasant could do was bitch and moan because the studio didn’t toss them a hundred grand to compensate them for the inconvenience of losing a few parking spots for a weekend. And some guy spent the whole day yelling at them while they were trying to shoot, forcing them to waste tens of thousands of dollars reshooting the scene over and over. Too bad ol’ Ragin’ Russell didn’t go ballistic on him, that would have been hilarious. Personally I would be thrilled to have a movie scene shot in my neighborhood…. but maybe I’m just weird.

    But so typical… the moment anything interesting threatens to happen in that pretentious yawn of a neighborhood, it’s protest time.

  • I agree that the AM day festival has nothing to do with AM but the $$ that Adams Morgan MainStreet group makes on the festival does go back into the community thought out the year.

  • @Jamie I’ve lived in Mt Pleasant for years and I’d always thought the variety of events held in Lamont Park were both interesting and fun. But that’s just my opinion.

    You claim “all the people in Mt Pleasant bitch and moan” and make other broad generalizations as if the population of Mt Pleasant is a singular entity. Hmmm, last time I checked we are a pretty diverse group with lots of different opinions.

    Good thing you were able to leave this pretentious yawn of a neighborhood – must have been awful for you to live here.

  • Anon 9:16…not sure what you’re talking about with regard to the Adams Morgan Day money going back to the community. No one knows where the money that is raised for Adams Morgan Day goes. Despite the fact that AMMainStreet has receieved thousands of dollars from the city as well as all the proceeds from Adams Morgan Day, they have never had to complete an audit of their books.

    Many Adams Morgan business owners do not participate in the AMDay at all not only because of the lack of accountability for the finances for the festival, but also because even as business owners on the street, are charged ridiculous amounts of money to have a booth.

  • Oh come on MtP resident, I was making a snarky generalization. Yes, actually, I realize that not every single person in Mt. Pleasant acts that way. I’m sorry that you didn’t realize I was being facetious. Let me rephrase that, perhaps this will be more to your liking.

    some people in Mt. Pleasant bitch and moan

    There were many things I liked about living in Mt. Pleasant. What I did not like was a pervasive anti-business, anti-fun attitude. The reality of Mt. Pleasant Street reflects this. The Lamont Park events were fun, and I fully supported them.

  • Also, the idea that Mt P is no longer a latino heavy neighborhood is just ridiculously false. The census numbers tell a different story, but you don’t really need to look at them, just look around on Mt. P Street.

  • sometimes mt pleasant feels reactionary i don’t know how else to put it.

  • I am totally confused. This festival has been advertised to be in CoHi for a while now but the organizers never bothered to get the permits/permission for the road closures BEFORE telling everyone it was on 14th street? I like the idea of having in the neighborhood (as opposed to hauling my ass to RFK etc) but this is just basic organizing gone wrong. Maybe the group should hire a professional management entity.

  • The only think that I don’t like is that I can’t take my car out the day of the festival. I do enjoy the music (esp. Brazilians) and the food.

    This city definitely needs more joy.

  • Did anyone from Fiesta DC ever confirm it was on 14th Street? I thought that was all conjecture and rumor anyway.

  • Closing Irving Street makes it inconvenient for business owners who need to load their moving trucks on their way to neighborhoods with actual vitality – like Petworth/H Street/11th Street/Tivoli North and on-on. We cannot disrupt the exodus, not even for 8 hours!

  • There are people in MtP who see the gradual “deLatinofication” of MtP as a good thing and see the possibility of this festival moving away as another step in that process. I, for one, think it’s a shame. Prior to coming to MtP, I lived in Parview for many years, where the Caribbean festival was the highlight of the summer. Neighbors there generally embraced the festival as something that gave the ‘hood a sense of identity, and I never saw the level of vitriol hurled at that festival as the folks in MtP have toward Fiesta DC. Yes, traffic is a mess, there’s a lot of clean-up afterwards, etc., but come on people. It’s once a year. Get over it. And even if there are fewer Latinos living in MtP these days, it is still the cultural heart of the Latino community in the DC region. It just is. The festival is one of the things that gives MtP a sense of identity. It would be a shame to lose it just because a few people are threatened by that identity.

  • I am confused. They have presented at the ANC 4C meeting twice. The indications were that all needed approvals were in place. Can somebody confirm if they are now moving the festival from 14th? The plan was to run the festival from around Tivoli up to Spring.

  • From the Mt Pleasant Forum:
    “the Fire and Emergency Services Department refused to allow 14th Street to be closed off for the fiesta.” Thus, they need to find a new festival home asap.

    Wonder why they didn’t find out 14th St couldn’t be closed to traffic much earlier in the planning process.

  • What’s even more interesting/confusing about the whole thing is that the Grahamstander’s Chief of Staff Ted Loza is on the board of Fiesta D.C. and has gone to various ANC meetings seeking support (financial) for the festival under the guise that it was moving to 14th Street….

  • Re:

    I just checked their website (fiestadc.org) and I found this:

  • Agreed, speak for yourself, not for “us” please. There are plenty of “us” who would love to have Fiesta DC on 14th Street, Mt P Street, 11th Street, 13th Street, wherever we can get it in this neighborhood.

  • voiceofreason: Those census numbers are 10 years old, and a LOT has changed in that time. Mt. Pleasant might be the historic center of Latino culture in the District, but Latin culture no longer dominates the neighborhood. The real action seems to have moved up towards Petworth and out to the suburbs, from my perspective. And the festival has grown to be a region-wide event. Why not host it someplace where everyone can enjoy it?

    Doesn’t Mt. Pleasant still have their Mt. Pleasant Day? That used to be great fun, and there were never any problems with street closures, overcrowding, or unsanitary conditions.

  • It’s amazing to me that people in the city don’t want festivals. All festivals leave some trash to be picked up and result in street closures and temporary parking headaches, that’s the small price we pay to have fun stuff like festivals. I wonder why all the hatred for this particular festival over others?

  • @voice of reason — hatred? Complaints about poor organization, lack of clean up…nothing about hatred for this festival.

    I’d expect some inconvenience but still I would expect to be able to get home and park my car on a residential street in my neighborhood. I’d expect some trash, but part of the permitting process includes arrangements for street clean up afterwords. That’s just being a good neighbor.

  • Anonhere, okay, maybe “hatred” was too strong a word.

    But the remedy suggested here-kicking the festival to the suburbs or freedom plaza, seems extreme for the ills it seeks to address. Couldn’t we just require the festival to put up a security deposit for street cleaning if it fails to do the job? As far as parking goes, street festivals require street closures, that’s just the way it goes. I’d think most people, but not all, are willing to move their cars a few streets over for a day or two to get festivals in town. I guess if a majority of folks think their parking is more important, then there should be no more festivals in favor of easy parking. That would be a sad reflection of the community values though-parking for a day or two over culture.

  • Hatred is apparent when people like crank twitch equate “Fiesta” with “Unsanitary”; apparently the Mount Pleasant festival was a germ-free event, until the Latino’s got involved…

    Of course, the mt. pleasant festival hasn’t been held in at least 5 years.

    DPW had a huge crew cleaning up last year — trucks, sweepers, and guys with brooms. I thought they did a great job last year. MP Street was cleaner than it is most Monday mornings.

  • Bring it on up to Petworth! Close off Georgia and have the “landing zone” near Roosevelt High School.

  • Petworth newbie, are you serious??? Don’t you remember all the fuss and controversy created last June 28 due to the Caribbean DC parade on Georgia Av.???? I guess parking is still a hot issue because back then lots of people complained for the same reason. Last year, I agree and I live on Mt pleasant street, the cleaning crews started working reght after the Fiesta ended….


    Mi persona

  • I totally agree with Crank, the Latino Festival is a region wide event and the demographics are shifting for DC Latinos. From their website “…to reach out to the Latino community in the region, which includes the capital and the neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia”.

    Doesn’t sound very Mt Pleasant-focused now does it?

  • The curmudgeons in MTP are worried about the apocalypse, and future ones too it would seem. Why is Irving street their false idol?


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