45TH ANNIVERSARY OF MEXICAN FIESTA; Congressional Record Vol. 164, No. 135
(Senate - August 15, 2018)

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[Page S5615]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. President, today I wish to recognize Mexican Fiesta 
as it celebrates 45 years of bringing the culture and taste of Mexico 
to Milwaukee, WI. Mexican Fiesta offers Wisconsin's Hispanic community 
the opportunity to preserve its cultural identity and celebrate its 
colorful traditions. I am so pleased to honor this Wisconsin 
organization and to commemorate this significant milestone.
  What began in 1973 as a Mexican Independence Day street festival on 
Milwaukee's south side has now become one of the region's largest 
festivals honoring Hispanic heritage. The festival grew so rapidly that 
it was moved to the mammoth Henry Maier Festival Park just 4 short 
years after its founding, where it has been held since 1977. Today, 
nearly 85,000 people attend this wonderful event every year, which 
contributes an estimated $8.5 million to Milwaukee's annual economy.
  Mexican Fiesta honors Hispanic culture and showcases the beauty of 
Mexico's rich history, art, music, and food, but it is more than just a 
cultural celebration. The festival also provides an important gateway 
to a college education for young Hispanics. Mexican Fiesta has 
heightened the significance of its celebration by serving as the main 
fundraiser for the Wisconsin Hispanic Scholarship Foundation, Inc., and 
by highlighting the scholarship recipients during the festivities. In 
addition to its scholarships, the foundation also works to improve the 
standard of living in the Hispanic community, train its leaders, and 
preserve and honor Hispanic traditions. The foundation has awarded more 
than $1.3 million in scholarships and nearly $500,000 in grants to 
nonprofit organizations since it was founded in 1987.
  Wisconsin's Hispanic population increased by 95 percent from 2000 to 
2015, growing to nearly 7 percent of the State's population. This was 
the most rapid rise among any major ethnic group in the State. While 
many Hispanic Wisconsinites reside in the southeastern corner of the 
State, it is important that we embrace Hispanic culture throughout the 
great State of Wisconsin. Mexican Fiesta serves as an important 
reminder of the social and economic benefits of a diverse community in 
Wisconsin and throughout our Nation.
  We in Wisconsin owe a debt of gratitude to the organizers of Mexican 
Fiesta for sharing the vibrant traditions and respected values of their 
Hispanic heritage. That they take this time-honored celebration one 
step further by investing in the future success of the next generation 
makes this festival all the more meaningful. I am honored to recognize 
the 45th anniversary of Mexican Fiesta and look forward to many more 
successful fiestas in the years to come.