FIESTAS PATRIAS OF AUSTIN
Fiestas Patrias of Austin, is a non-profit organization founded in 1978 by Gilbert Velasquez. In the late 1970 s, Mr. Velasquez saw a need in the Mexican-American community to host the annual Diez y Seis de Septiembre celebration. For many years the annual Diez y Seis fiesta was held at Parque Zaragosa in east Austin. This event began as a private venture to resurrect the tradition of the celebration, but eventually we were able to receive nonprofit status to provide support to various programs for our youth and community. The goals of Fiestas Patrias of Austin, are to preserve and promote the Mexican-American culture, to provide scholarships for college bound Hispanics, and to grant funding for youth programs.
Since 1978, Fiestas Patrias has distributed thousands of dollars back into the Austin community for youth programs, scholarships, and community projects. Over the past thirty-six years Fiestas Patrias has provided the Austin community with over $600,000 in contributions. We look forward to a successful event in 2016.
Addressing the needs of the youth in our community is of importance to Fiestas Patrias. Our youth must have access to extracurricular activities that promote camaraderie, discipline, team competition, and interaction with adults who can be positive role models. Youth programs provide a solution and alternative to gangs, illegal activity, delinquency, and other social problems by challenging, teaching, and providing our youth with a foundation that can lead to a successful future.
Funding for youth programs has been based upon need in various parts of the Austin community. With the assistance of the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, we are able to determine which youth programs need financial assistance. Programs that we have assisted in the past include the South Austin Optimists youth program, South Austin Little League, Dove Springs recreation center, Del Valle soccer program, Del Valle Little League, Greater East Austin Youth League, and the Round Rock Ballet Folklorico group. These are a few of the youth programs that have benefited from the success of the annual Diez y Seis de Septiembre festival sponsored by Fiestas Patrias.
During the holiday season Fiestas Patrias becomes involved in the spirit of giving by sharing our success with the community. Fiestas Patrias celebrates Thanksgiving by giving the East Austin community a free Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. Each year we serve approximately 2000 dinner plates to all who attend. This annual Thanksgiving dinner is our way of saying thanks to the community for supporting Fiestas Patrias of Austin.