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Oregon has a rich and vibrant Mexican cultural heritage, and much of the state’s Mexican history is intertwined with its rich agrarian roots. The synergy of Mexican culture and Oregon agricultural development has reached its zenith in the Willamette Valley, to the point that Western Oregon—and beyond—is now a vibrant multicultural community.
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For more than fifty years, the small town of Woodburn has honored Hispanic cultural heritage with the Woodburn Fiesta Mexicana, an enthralling, entertaining, and culinary-rich three-day celebration that features live music, dance performances (including traditional Mexican folk dancing and Salsa dancing), queen court, a popular and colorful parade, a huge soccer tournament (youth and adult), and even Lucha Libre (Mexican professional wrestling).
The vendor lineup includes a saliva-inducing selection of Mexican food specialties that comprise a highlight of the festival. The Fiesta Mexicana Court has been a part of the festival since the earliest years, in the 1960s, and remains an integral part of the celebration. Entry to the fiesta is free on Friday (noon to 11 pm) and until 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday; thereafter, a modest entry fee is required for admission on Saturday evening (open until 11 pm) and on Sunday evening (open until 10 pm).
Mexican heritage and culture abounds in Woodburn and surrounding communities. This city of 25,000 residents sits alongside both Interstate 5 and old Highway 99, and boasts many excellent Mexican restaurants, from sit-down dinner houses to walk-up “taco trucks” specializing in traditional street food, along with specialty markets that carry many different Mexican goods, including fruits, vegetables, spices, and other foods that are difficult to find elsewhere. In 2017, the city’s famous Fiesta Mexicana was named an Oregon Heritage Tradition by the Oregon Heritage Commission, and this longstanding festival annually draws more than 20,000 people. Significantly the Fiesta Mexicana Soccer Tournament, with both youth and adult brackets, is extremely popular, so teams should register early, well ahead of the festival.
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