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Sunshine Days name change takes on a Latino flavor

It's official! The new name for Sunnyside's September community celebration will be "Sunshine Fiesta - Celebrating Sunshine Days and Fiesta Patrias."

"We wanted a name that would embrace the end of the summer, as well as the cultural diversity of our community," said Pat Kezele, who is coordinating this year's community celebration.

Along with the new name, the committee approved three days of fun for the Sept. 16-18 weekend. The Sunshine Fiesta Committee, which met last night (Thursday), agreed to organize activities ranging from a street fair, art exhibit and several athletic events.

"We are still looking for more volunteers interested in helping to make this year's celebration fun for the entire community," said Kezele.

The committee will be partnering with area radio stations to line up headline entertainment for the week, but also plans to give equal time to local talent.

"We want this celebration to reflect the talent we have in our community," said Kezele.

For example, this year's street fair will encourage local non-profit groups to host booths at the three-day street fair, as well as downtown merchants. The committee plans on visiting downtown merchants to encourage them to be a part of the celebration.

"We want to encourage our downtown merchants to host sidewalk sales during Sunshine Fiesta," she said.

In addition, other ideas being considered for the 2005 Sunshine Fiesta include opening the event with a ribbon cutting ceremony, including music by the local high school bands, and closing it with the crowning of a Mr. Sunnyside.

In addition, the three-day event will include special events such as a Saturday biathlon, volkswalk, a parade, a street dance and a vintage car show. Sunday will include a Fiestas Patrias ceremony, as well as a Sunday after-church picnic in the park and the Mr. Sunnyside pageant. Friday's events will include a family movie night at the gazebo and an art show.

All three days will feature entertainment in Centennial Square, a carnival, and a street filled with arts and crafts, food and farmer's market vendors.

"We encourage Sunnyside service group representatives to attend our next Sunshine Fiesta meeting to join in making this a great event," said Kezele.

The next Sunshine Fiesta meeting will be held Thursday, April 21, at 5:30 p.m. at the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce office, 520 S. Seventh St.

For more information call the Chamber office at 837-5939.

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