Something sweet is happening in downtown Fresno this weekend. If you like candy and games, grab a friend and head to Piñata Fest at Arte Américas. It’s a brand new festival featuring music, food, games, and lots and lots of piñatas.
Meaning Behind the Piñata
Who doesn’t love a good piñata? It’s practically a birthday party requirement in these parts. However, there’s more to a piñata than colorful paper, candy, and cardboard. According to Albee Sanchez of Sanchez Productions, the piñata’s history is relatively unknown.
“Piñatas were originally created as a way for mortals to bash away their sins. The original piñatas from Mexico started as clay pots; however, over time, they gained the new ‘star shape’, a sphere with seven points. These points represent the seven deadly sins: greed, gluttony, sloth, pride, envy, wrath, and lust.
Candies and fruits inside represented the cantaros (temptations) of wealth and earthly pleasures. The blindfolded participant represents the leading force in defying evil, ‘Fe’, faith, which must be blind. People gathered near the player and spun him/her around to confuse their sense of space. Sometimes the turns numbered thirty three in memory of the life of Christ. The voices of those watching would cry out in guidance:
¡Más arriba! (More upwards!)
¡Enfrente! (In front!)”
Of course, most people today don’t use piñatas for their original functions, but Piñata Fest has the goal of mixing tradition with modernity. Throughout the day, piñata bashes will occur. If you don’t like hitting things with sticks, I guess that is fine. There’s plenty of other stuff to do. For example, you could try your hand at lotería (which is a Mexican card game similar to bingo).
There will also be a DJ, live music, folklórico, and salsa dancing from Enchílate Salsa group. Speaking of salsa (the other kind of salsa), there will be lots of delicious food for you to choose from, not to mention piñata candy. Additionally, craft vendors will be there selling awesome local wares, and oversized yard games will be on hand for all your giant yard game needs. If you’re worried about getting hot, there’s even a water balloon toss.
Learn How to Make Your Own Piñata
Usually when I write about local events, I decide I want to go after talking about the first few activities. I guess I don’t need much convincing — it usually only takes food and some music to get me to mark my calendar. That’s why it always impresses me that many of our local festivals are so jam-packed with awesomeness (see also: my post on this weekend’s Horned Toad Derby in Coalinga).
I’ve told you about Piñata Fest’s music, food, and games — but there’s more! Come meet the largest piñata on the West Coast and let Pablo the Downtown Fresno Piñata inspire you to create your own. Sign ups are happening now for piñata making classes, where Abigail Janzen will walk you through the finer points of piñata making. Tickets for classes are going fast, so click here to reserve your spot.
The goal of this event is to celebrate traditions in a modern way, and so far it seems like the Piñata Fest is on track to do just that. So, if you want fun with a dose of heritage, head downtown and enjoy our valley’s culture.
What: Piñata Fest
When: Saturday, May 27, from 1 to 9 p.m.
1630 Van Ness Ave, Fresno, CA 93721
Kids 8 and under are free. General admission is just $3 at the door.
Piñata class sign ups are here and cost $12. It’s $10 to enter into the piñata competition. Hourly piñata bashes are free with admission and are divided into age groups.
The event Facebook page is here.
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