Culture and community come together in one of Canada's most colourful festivals.
Where would you go if you wanted a spicy travel destination? I'm guessing London, Ontario isn't on your list, and it wasn't on mine either at first. But London has a large Mexican and Latin American community, whose culture, traditions, talents, and delicious flavors come together each year for Fiesta London, an amazing event. So if you're looking to spice up your travels, look no further! I think you'd love the experience as much as I did. Here's what made my Fiesta experience so memorable.
The pounding rain of the morning may have drowned some hair and outfits, but it couldn't put a damper in everyone's spirits - everyone, that is, except for the Chihuahuas! Some of these cutie pie canines seemed to take the excitement of the crowds, the costumes, and the Chihuahua parade in stride, while others seemed less than convinced. But when it came to working their magic on the stage, all the Chihuahuas were able to dig deep and pull out some star power! It was such a sweet start to the day.
If you want to see pandemonium personified, you gotta check out the piñata breaking events at Fiesta London. Either these were the world's hardiest piñatas or they had been specially reinforced by the organizers to draw out the experience and add to the suspension.
First up: the kids gamely take their best whacks at the piñata. But no success! A few grownups are called in for some added muscle. Now, this is just a theory, but I highly suspect that the piñata rope holders were having more than just a little bit of fun when it came to deliberately bouncing piñata until it was just out of reach.
Finally, there's a promising hit! The piñata goes down with one powerful final thwack! How fitting that it was covered with Sponge Bob decorations - Bob himself made an appearance at Fiesta London, as you can see further below.
A volunteer wisely grabs the piñata before the kids can charge and shakes it upside down to release the candy. I love how the photo above shows the kids already lifting the barricade tape.
Too late! Charge they do! They kids are going crazy for the candy and, after such a suspenseful session of piñata whacking, who can blame them? When candy's involved, all bets are off!
If Lord Of The Flies had a piñata, this is what the island would look like. I've never seen such happy, enthusiastic, and will-get-candy-at-all-cost kids and they formed quite the pyramid as they piled on each other to flight for the candy scraps. Again, all's fair in love, war, and candy grabbing!
Do you think you have what it takes to win an extreme eating competition? You might think twice if you caught a glimpse of the monstrous 2 lb burritos the contestants had to conquer at Fiesta London! If you look carefully at the photo above, you'll see that the burritos are the same size at the contestant's heads!
Those burritos, mighty though they were, DID look pretty delicious. As the contestants first tucked in, I was optimistic for all of their prospects. After all, who doesn't want to inhale a delicious burrito? But as the minutes ticked by, I began to get worried.
The burritos were unfolding and things were starting to get messy. The contestants were losing the sharp stare of a prize fighter as eyes glazed over and bodies slumped forward. Would anyone finish? Turns out that all the contestants actually did pretty well in the end - though I doubt many of them will be looking to repeat the experience any time soon! As one contestant said, the secret to extreme burrito eating is to just "forget about breathing!"
Culture, Colour, and Costumes.
Fiesta London is much more than an opportunity for food and fun. This is a time when then entire community comes together to celebrate diversity, culture, and heritage And the festival's main stage held wonderful demonstrations of that spirit, especially through music, dance, and drama.
What I loved most about the performances was the incredible energy that everyone brought to the stage. I was getting tired just watching the dancers! They displayed such amazing enthusiasm and their legs were an absolute blur of movement!
The dance movements weren't the only thing catching my eye. The colors and textures of the traditional costumes were stunning to watch and every now and then we'd see someone in the audience dancing along at the sidelines - the high spirits were certainly contagious!
The main stage also featured a host of musicians and dancers, some very traditional, with ties to different regions of Mexico and Latin America, but others less so - like Mickey, Minnie, Dora, and Sponge Bob! While they may not fall under the category of traditional fiesta entertainment, they were definitely popular with the kids!
London has been high on our radar this year, and for good reason. The city has great food, a good selection of accommodations, and a vibrant, revitalized downtown. We've never been disappointed with any of our travel experiences there and Fiesta London was our most exciting one yet. The celebrations take place every June, but if you can't make it in the summer, the city is great to visit year round.
We want to hear from you! What's your spiciest travel destination?
If you enjoyed this article, you'll also like:
Where we stay in London: Hotel Metro
What we visit: Banting House National Historic Site
Where we find great grub: Covent Garden Farmers' Market
Our visit to London was facilitated in part by Downtown London and we thank them for their support.
Great post Vanessa! Fab pics! I NEVER would have thought of London, Ontario for any sort of "spicy" travel! Sure looks like the fiesta was FUN! Gorgeous costumes. I LOVE the photos of the burrito eaters! My spiciest destination? That would probably have to be San Antonio, TX, although, it was more of a savoury destination with their delicious BBQ's!
20/7/2015 02:07:44 am
YUM for Texas BBQ!!! I've never been but I can only imagine what a food lovers' paradise it must be.
18/7/2015 06:38:35 am
The festival looks like so much fun. I love the fiesta atmosphere and colors. Not so sure about eating that giant burrito though. No wonder there aren't any women up there. Does that much burrito even fit in a person's stomach?? Crazy.
20/7/2015 02:09:06 am
Ha ha ha!! There were women who took part in the taco eating contest- a slightly more civilized event! The guys who tackled the burritos were good sports but I'm not sure any of them will want to repeat the experience any time soon - that's enough food for a month!
18/7/2015 09:42:39 am
"forget about breathing!" doesn't sound like the greatest tip ;) Seems fun to watch but not to participate.
20/7/2015 02:10:03 am
I think I'd be a pro when it came to enjoying burrito samples but extreme eating looks too intimidating for me!
18/7/2015 10:01:58 am
Pinatas are really fun. Didn't know those were popular in Canada.
20/7/2015 02:10:55 am
They're super popular here but mostly in the form of cartoon themed ones for kids birthdays - you don't often see them at festivals.
20/7/2015 02:11:51 am
I think some of the chihuahuas were smaller than the burritos!! London is such a fantastic city - there's such a sense of community spirit. You would love it!
19/7/2015 02:22:40 am
What a fun post! Love all the bright colors! My spiciest destination would have to be Miami! My daughter and I visited for a half-marathon a few years ago!
20/7/2015 02:13:04 am
Mmmmm.... spicy Cuban food in Miami is a travel must! Congratulations on going there for a running event - that much have been a challenging one due to the heat. You would have definitely earned a mojito or two!
20/7/2015 02:13:59 am
The kids at Fiesta London were having an absolute blast - and not just during the pinata breaking. It's definitely a very family friendly event.
19/7/2015 02:33:03 pm
I had never heard of London, Ontario but seems like a cool place. And I love these kinds of festivals because it teaches people about different cultures but in a fun way.
20/7/2015 02:15:03 am
You're absolutely right - I learned so much about dance and music and food when I was there, just by taking part in all the fun. It was a great way to celebrate community diversity.
How fun! Definitely not what I would expect to see in Ontario, Canada but that's what makes it such a fun find! The burrito eating competition would be fun to watch. The poor guy in the 2nd picture (2nd from left), he looks like he is just realizing what he got himself into!
20/7/2015 02:16:28 am
That poor guy never knew what hit him! I realize (and I bet a lot of them realized) that loving burritos does not mean you've got what it takes to do an eating competition with them!
21/7/2015 06:57:49 am
Hopefully soon you'll be able to pass by London, UK, to check out its Canadian counterpart!
24/7/2015 11:45:19 am
I didn't know either until the event! It's great to see so many diverse communities across Canada.
Comments are closed.
Posts by Location
Posts by Date