Thu. Sep 29th, 2022

Did you know that Santa Ana’s popular Cinco de Mayo and Fiestas Patrias festivals used to be run by local businessmen and volunteers?  That was before the City of Santa Ana decided to hire a promoter, MX Live, to run these events.



But is MX Live really doing a good enough job to justify this corporate takeover?  Check out their website,their Facebook Page and the City’s website, and you will find that there is no mention of this year’s Fiestas Patrias, which are coming up in mid-September – just a few weeks from now.  What gives?

Fiestas Patrias

While MX Live has booked a lot of musical acts over the past few years the events have become more about cheap carnival rides and booze gardens, with very little cultural aspects, which is a darn shame.

Isn’t it time to return control of these events to the community?  Consider that the Annual Noche De Altares (Dia de Los Muertos) event is run by volunteers – not by Downtown Inc., the City or MX Live.  And that event is awesome – with plenty of art and culture.

The City Council is going to be deciding soon who will be their next event promoter.  Forget it!  Let the community run these events and let’s give the boot to the “professional” promoters.

By Editor

Art Pedroza started Orange County's first political blog, the Orange Juice, back in 2003. He now publishes the top civic blog in Orange County - New Santa Ana, plus other blogs including New Anaheim, New Fullerton and the Irvine News Blog, as well as the OC Politics Blog.

18 thoughts on “Should Santa Ana’s Cinco de Mayo and Fiestas Patrias be run by volunteers?”
  1. Downtown Inc. did not want to run Noche De Altares (Dia de Los Muertos), they just gave them a good chunk of sponsorship money.

  2. That was only last year’s sponsorship. Check the previous 4 years. Geez. Look at the past flyers and you will see Downtown Santa Ana/Downtown Inc. logo on the posters and flyers. Sponsorship.

  3. The 5 de Mayo celebration keeps getting weaker and weaker every year. People from Santa Ana don’t spend money there…

      1. If you want to splinter and fragment the event, and truly ruin it, you’ll give it to volunteers. Whoever you suggest to “volunteer” don’t have the network, experience or resources to being in pop acts, you know, ATTRACTIONS. If you want to hear Son del Centro AGAIN give it to anyone but MX LIVE.

        There’s potential to project the fair and parade on a grander scale with MX LIVE.

        Out with the petty bickering and do what’s right for the event with a tried and tested company like MX LIVE.

        And get real.

        1. But Omar they appear to not be paying all of their vendors on time. And as I pointed out in my post the Fiestas Patrias is around the corner and nothing appears to have been done about it. What’s up with that?

          Volunteers do a fine job running the Noche De Altares and the 4th of July events in our city and they did a fine job running the Cinco de Mayo and Fiestas Patrias events before the city outsourced these events.

          The City is obviously paying for these attractions – or rather funneling the money to MX Live. Do you really think these musical acts won’t come here if they are paid by a volunteer group instead? Really?

          1. Besides the ones I already mentioned, I overlooked the folks who run the OC Film Fiesta, which is a very well run event with Hollywood stars.

  4. STOP IT!

    Now Benavides and his ilk are going to concentrate on the Independence Day festival instead of explaining why they paid a half million bucks for an unproven city manager!

    These folks can’t multi task. We know that. PDB and company are following the short term $$$$.

    We can now expect a slick suit wearing PDB (somebody suggested that he resembles the slick spokesman from the “car acrobatic” team on the 1970’s cartoon Speed Racer) to explain in BIG meaningless words what the Fiesta means.

    Watch for the announcement.

  5. As far as any of you suggesting that I’m somehow allied with Benavides, that’s completely idiotic. I write the Santa Ana Sentinel and I’m not afraid to speak mind. Any of you that are versed in what I’ve written in my opinions know that I’ve criticized Benavides continuously due to past decisions. I am not Roman Reyna or Phil Bacerra. Learn to differentiate between friends and not.

      1. I have heard from eyewitnesses Omar who have seen Benavides at the meetings involving MX Live. This is NOT his Ward so one has to wonder what he is doing sticking his nose into this situation.

  6. Festivals like Fiestas Patrias & Cinco de Mayo are usually run by business associations who hire event producers. These producers are essentially “independent contractors” who serve the business interests of their merchant clients.
    It would certainly be an improvement over the current “invasion” MX Live launches on the downtown every year.

    Instead of stimulating local merchants’ sales, the Fiestas & Cinco crew cram in too many outside corporations who don’t feed into our local tax base. Moreover booth prices are so high that most Santa Ana businesses are priced out of participating. Instead of celebrating our City’s large business community, these events leave the streets a mess, filled with trash and with little economic benefit. Moreover, their marketing is hack, generic, cheap-ass sh*t.

    As for MX Live talent offerings, what difference does it make who they book if it’s only announced the day before the event? How are the networks and papers going to cover an event that offers no press releases and no pre-event lineup? Without a pre-event media buzz, these events undermine their capacity to benefit Santa Ana.

    A new search should be launched and a local, group selected that combines the best of For-Profit (quality, experience, showmanship) and Non-Profit (community-based, culturally-focused, engaging local volunteers) business practices.

    Also, the City should step up and fully fund these endeavors by passing a Ballot Measure or Tourism Tax that could fund Art & Culture events in Santa Ana. This would provide essential seed monies for public cultural events. Local Merchant Groups, like the Santa Ana Business Council, can provide completion funds and provide oversight.

    Currently the Fiestas/Cinco contract is a “Pay to Play” opportunity, forcing applicants to pay huge up-front costs in order to place a bid. This practice needs to end. The City needs to comprehend how Arts, Culture & Tourism funding works and start setting up revenue streams for Local Events (ballot measures, soda tax, hotel tax, federal grants, private foundations), otherwise we’ll never rid ourselves of the mercenary, hack opportunists invading our City, undermining our local businesses and trashing our downtown.

    C’mon people, lets get it right!

  7. Manny Brings up a good point, 265,000 people that’s HALF the cities ENTIRE population. The Orange street Fair, a WIDELY KNOWN event doesn’t draw those kinds of numbers.

    It’s tough to say what is true, but until Benavides speaks up it will be the same old song with him. SILENCE.

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