New Iberia to celebrate its Spanish heritage

For the second year, New Iberia will celebrate its Spanish roots at El Festival Español de Nueva Iberia Nov. 15 – 17, 2013.

“The mission of El Festival Español de Nueva Iberia is to celebrate the 1779 founding of the City of New Iberia by 16 families from Malaga, Spain; to create an educational and cultural exchange of food, music, art and history between New Iberia and the Andalusia region of Spain; and to recognize the contributions of the original Spanish settlers to our culture,” said Ebrar Joseph Reaux, festival chair.

Friday, Nov. 15, Charles Holloway, Ph. D, will give a free lecture on the history of bullfighting at 6 p.m. at the Essanee Theater. At 7 p.m., the Bayou Teche Museum will unveil its “Spanish Bullfighting Exhibit” exhibit at 131 E. Main St.

A Spanish gala will follow at 7:30 p.m. at the Sliman Theater. Guests will enjoy wine, beer, fine cuisine from 13 restaurants, and entertainment by Ven PaCa Flamenco dancers and Spanish guitarist John Lawrence.

Tickets for the gala are available in New Iberia at Paul's Flower & Gift Shop, A&E Gallery, or by calling 337-369-2330.

Saturday, Nov. 16, the celebration will resume with the “Running of the Bulls” 5K run and one mile walk/run (8 a.m., Fulton Street, followed by an opening ceremony to welcome and recognize visiting guests from Spain (10 a.m., Steamboat Pavilion), and a light hearted interpretation of the Spanish arrival on Bayou Teche sponsored by the Iberia Performing Arts League (Steamboat Pavilion, 10:30 a.m.).

As the day continues, the Steamboat Pavilion will resonate with musical and dance performances, including Mariachi Jalisco, John Lawrence and Ven PaCa, as well as Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars with special guest Carol Fran.

Starting at 11 a.m., revelers will get a taste of Spain at the Paella/Tapas Cookoff at Bouligny Plaza.

The celebration will conclude Sunday at noon with a mass dedicated to the Spanish founding families and visitors from Spain at St. Peter's Catholic Church.

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