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Fiesta del Pueblo finds new home

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The N.C. State Fairgrounds, home to many events in Tar Heel history, this year will host North Carolina's largest celebration of Latino heritage, as well.

After six years at Chapel Hill High School, La Fiesta del Pueblo is relocating this year, a move necessitated by renovations planned during the school's summer hiatus. The fairgrounds, just off the interstate in Raleigh, open up even more room to grow, more parking and a central Triangle location, says organizer Mary Lindsley, the Cultural Program Coordinator for El Pueblo Inc., which hosts the event.

"We were getting really big for Chapel Hill High School," she says, noting 48,000 attended last year's two-day festival. "The fairgrounds are a huge part of North Carolina, and we feel pretty happy to be a part of that."

Attendance at the 9-year-old event, which began at Chapel Hill's Lincoln Center before moving to the high school, has grown an average of 35 percent per year, exposing 400,000 people to the arts and cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Organizers are expecting more than 50,000 people at the 10th annual La Fiesta, scheduled for Sept. 6-7, 2003. Admission is $1 for adults; children under 12 are free.

The Fiesta includes cultural and arts exhibits; a variety of music, traditional dance performances; folk musicians; internationally touring groups; a children's amusement park and patio activities; Latin American and Caribbean foods; a health fair; nonprofit outreach, a technology corner and a housing fair. Because of the change in venues, this year's Fiesta will probably not include a soccer tournament, Lindsley says, and the 10K road race that usually accompanies the festival, will remain in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area. The race date has not been set yet, but will be held a couple of weeks after the fair.

For more information, check out El Pueblo's Web site at www.elpueblo.org.

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