Estamos Aqui festival draws far larger crowd than expected in Green Bay | Blueprint365
Thousands flooded the campus at UW-Green Bay as Estamos Aqui brought the first ever celebration of Hispanic heritage of this scale for the city.
Estamos Aqui, a new festival meant to celebrate Hispanic culture, was held at UW-Green Bay’s Campus on Saturday. The festival included a car show and competition, mercado, art show, food, music and dancing. Attendees were excited to see a large-scale celebration dedicated to them over the course of eight hours for the first time in Green Bay.
“It’s nice to finally see that they are doing something for our people,” attendee Ernie Raigoza said. “We just came here with no intentions. We just wanted to be in the environment.”
Raigoza and his son, also Ernie, came out to Estamos Aqui as a last-minute entry into the car show. The two were there mostly to finally experience a space dedicated to them, but the father and son came away as winners in the car show with their 2001 C-5 Corvette.
The festival spanned throughout the area in front of the Weidner Center where art vendors sold handmade goods next to an art exhibit. The Estamos Aqui art exhibit was a last-minute addition to the lineup.
The festival and art exhibit share a name, but the efforts have been separate for years. The Estamos Aqui festival is brand new, but the art exhibit has been going on since 2017. The two merged for the event to celebrate Hispanic heritage and help continue to fund Casa Alba Melanie, a Hispanic resource center for the greater Green Bay area.
The turnout was drastically larger than expected, though organizers have not yet finalized attendance estimates.
“There’s a lot of people — a lot more than what was expecting,” Colleen Messmer from Casa Alba Melanie. “Casa Alba was part of the planning committee for this. They expected a thousand people, but they got well over that.”
With the unexpectedly large turnout, lines were very long as attendees waited for half an hour or more to get food or drink tickets and it was not uncommon to hear someone yell, “That’s the line for drinks?”
The large success of the event and the appreciation of the people finally getting their own space to celebrate in Green Bay will mean a great deal more planning for the next Estamos Aqui. Now seeing that there is a demand for this far greater than expected, the festival may need to expand the area and vendors to accommodate the people.