ELOY — After a year of quarantine and shutdowns, the Fiestas Patrias is scheduled to return Sept. 17-18. The Fiestas Patrias is put on in Eloy every year by Corazon De Latinos Unidos, an organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Hispanic culture through education and celebration.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fiestas was not able to be held last year, but for Vice Mayor Andrew Rodriguez, the event’s return in 2021 is much needed.

“It feels great, it feels like it is a very wanted thing in the community, so I’m glad that we are actually able to have it this year,” Rodriguez said. “We are all one big community and everyone looks forward to the Fiestas.”

Rodriguez is one of the main Fiestas planners. He is president of the committee as well as the executive director for the Eloy Chamber of Commerce. For Rodriguez, his main goal is to make this year’s event one of the best in the city’s history.

“Our motto for this year’s Fiestas is bigger and better,” Rodriguez said. “We have a whole new board for the Fiestas committee, so there are a lot of ideas coming around and ideas that are happening.”

The event will have a variety of food vendors that come from all over Pinal County and Tucson, a car and bike show that will showcase everything from classic rides to lowriders, and music from acts like Su Majestad La Brissa, Ballet Folklorico De Santa Maria, who have performed at the White House, for Disney and overseas, as well as Eloy native and former America’s Got Talent contestant Olivia Calderon.

Rodriguez spoke about how having Calderon come perform for her hometown is a great feeling, saying that she remembers her roots.

“It’s a good feeling to have her. Olivia has never forgotten where she comes from, and that is one of the reasons why we always book her,” Rodriguez said. “She is very humble. We make a phone call and she is there. She is always willing to come back and perform for us.”

Although Rodriguez has been hard at work planning the event, he said he is very excited to see the headlining band, La Brissa, perform and see the Eloy residents enjoy the event.

“We have been getting so many emails and messages about the band, making sure they were going to be here, so we are really excited to see them,” Rodriguez said. “My big thing is that I would like to see a lot of people get together and have a good time.”

The event will be free to attend, with proceeds from food vendors and booths helping pay the costs.

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David Church is a reporter covering Eloy, Arizona City and sports. He can be reached at dchurch@pinalcentral.com.