(Left to right) Lani Misalucha, Florante and Fe Delos Reyes | Photos courtesy of Fiesta in America
NEW YORK – Fiesta In America is back in town this weekend – Saturday, August 20 at the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey, after more than two decades at the Meadowlands Center in Secaucus, New Jersey.
The relaunch of the Filipino community’s longest-running fiesta-theme event in the northeast will offer something new and old this year. Unlike previous years, admission is free and open to the general public for this one-day event of wholesome fun and entertainment. The first 1,000 guests will receive a 25% discount on American Dream’s theme park rides a family will enjoy during their stay. The discount vouchers will be at Fiesta In America’s Information Desk on 3. To qualify for the 25% discount on theme park rides, attendees will only have to provide their email addresses and that of another person.
Festivities will start at 10 a.m. with a Mass, a Santacruzan in full regalia, a daylong concert featuring Original Pilipino Music (OPM) icons, and several performers from New York and New Jersey. Consul General Elmer G. Cato of the Philippine Consulate of New York will deliver the keynote speech at noon. He will be joined by Jersey City Council President Joyce Watterman and other community leaders during the opening ceremonies.
“Aside from the free concert to celebrate our return from a two-year pause due to the pandemic,” said Nanding Mendez, Fiesta In America’s President-CEO. “Event attendees will be treated to a fashion show mounted by Asia Pacific Fashion Week (APFW) in partnership with GMA Pinoy TV and Asian Journal.” The fashion show will present ethnic-inspired designs by four innovative Filipino couturiers.
Lani Misalucha, famed Asia’s Nightingale, will revitalize the fashion show with her distinctive blend of pop, rock, jazz, and R&B music. According to Mendez, the fashion show will benefit a scholarship for talented, low-income design students in the Philippines under the Ramp for a Cause initiative.
Two OPM luminaries will highlight Fiesta In America’s daylong cultural extravaganza. Pinoy folk-rock legend Florante will regale the audience with his biggest hits, including “Pinay” (Filipino Woman), “Ako’y Isang Pinoy” (I Am A Filipino) and his anthem “Handog” (Offering).Complementing Florante will be a singer and stand-up comic Fe De Los Reyes, formerly of showband Music & Magic, with her side-splitting takes on immigrant life in the U.S., the mystique of Filipino femininity and aging. Up-and-coming local singers, artists and bands, and folkloric dance troupes will round out Fiesta In America’s diverse entertainment fare.
Filipino food will be one of the varied come-ons of a large area reserved for Fiesta In America on Court A’s third-floor food court. American Dream visitors of all cultures will also enjoy a wide range of Philippine native products and immigrant-tailored services from exhibitors based in the U.S. and the Philippines, free vital-signs screenings, and health awareness tips offered by the Philippine Nurses Association-(PNA) New Jersey volunteers, a Filipiniana and painting gallery, a Children’s Section hosted by UniFFied, glimpses of Philippine village life, and so much more.
An exhibition of simultaneous chess games will feature a Filipina prodigy Megan Paragua, who FIDE currently ranks as the Number One Chess Player in the World Under-10 Years old.
“Fiesta In America’s re-opening fortuitously coincides with our 25 th Anniversary,” Mendez added. “The milestone is an opportunity not only to make Philippine culture shine among thousands of American Dream visitors of all cultures; it’s also an effective way for Fil-Am associations of all stripes to come together in the spirit of unity, while their members are having total family fun at Fiesta In America and at American Dream’s theme parks.”
For more information about Fiesta In America, please call 212-682-6610, email email@example.com or visit www.fiestainamerica.com.
-With Ricky Rillera/PDM