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Celebrating 75 years of Fiesta and Honoring a Legacy

The Fiesta organization was formed to celebrate the founding of Pensacola: America’s First Settlement.

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In 1559, Spanish Conquistador, Don Tristan de Luna, established Pensacola as the first European settlement in the United States. Fiesta plans and produces over 20 events throughout the year with the help of a plethora of volunteers. These events are designed to appeal to all ages and interests, as well as promote tourism for the area.

Fiesta has always been a significant celebration for the Pensacola Bay Area. A 10-day heritage celebration, beginning right after Memorial Day each year, is one of the oldest and largest heritage festivals in the State of Florida. Additionally, the Pensacola Crawfish Festival and Pensacola Seafood Festival celebrate the industries and resources we are proud to have in our city.

This year, Fiesta is celebrating 75 YEARS of fun and frivolity in Pensacola and it’s all kicking off tonight at the Surrender of the City in Phineas Phoggs at 7:15 p.m. Local dignitaries such as the Mayor, Fire Chief, Supervisor of Elections, Escambia County Sheriff and Pensacola Naval Air Station Commanding Officer will surrender the City of Pensacola and its citizens to DeLuna and his Queen for the Fiesta Season.

To kick off the season we caught up with Wes Reeder, President of Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon and the 2023-2024 Fiesta “de Luna” about his experience over the past year and what Fiesta means to him.

“I’ve been involved with Fiesta since 1989 and my most honorable moment was being selected as De Luna and going through the coronation and all the pageantry. It was a very special moment for me,” said Reeder. “I feel extremely honored to be de Luna.”

For Wes, the title of de Luna goes much deeper than his long history with the organization. It upholds a legacy.

“My wife’s father, Dr. C. Fenner McConnell and also a very good friend of mine, was killed in a bike accident years ago,” said Reeder. “He was also a de Luna so for me this year has been a full circle moment and in a way I am carrying on his legacy.”

Not only does the Fiesta organization and their volunteers play a major part in honoring Pensacola’s past they also celebrate the present and secure Fiesta’s future for generations to come. Click here for more information of this weekend’s festivities and join us in commemorating an incredible 75 years of celebrating our 450 year old heritage.