Daily Herald
Fiesta in the Park comes to Arlington Park Sunday
By Alison Hoesli | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 7/16/2008 12:08 AM

The 7th Annual Fiesta in the Park is this Sunday at Arlington Park racecourse in Arlington Heights.

"There are two reasons to celebrate," said Jerry Campagna, one of the creators of the event. "One is to thank the Latinos that work at Arlington Park for their contributions to horse racing and the other is in celebration of the Latino heritage."

About 1,000 people work at the track and the majority of them are Hispanic.

Visitors can expect to be introduced to the Latino culture and enjoy hours of celebratory food, music and fun.

The days special attractions range from mariachi band performances to face painting for children.

The groups performing include Mariachi Perla de Mexico from Chicago, the Ballet Folklorico Huehuecoyotl dance troupe, which uses flowing skirts and upbeat music to showcase traditional dances from Mexican culture, and the Willie Gomez con Cache Orchestra, which plays modern arrangements of salsa and mambo music with an emphasis on African rhythms. The Latino radio station Univision Passion, will be featured, playing popular music throughout the park.

Thoroughbred horse races will also be continuing all day.

But the biggest excitement of the day may come from the attendance of the Chicago Fire soccer team. Members will be raffling off autographed jerseys as well as introducing themselves to some of their biggest fans.

The track draws in about 12,000 people yearly during Fiesta day, and this year's expected attendance could be as much as 15,000, Campagna said.

"It's the largest yet, plus we've had more media coverage," said Campagna.

Arlington Park is half a mile west of Route 53 on Euclid Avenue. For more information, call (847) 385-7500, or visit www.arlingtonpark.com.

If you go

Event: Fiesta in the Park

Time: 11:15 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Date: Sunday

Place: Arlington Park racecourse, Euclid Avenue and Wilke Road, Arlington Heights

First race: 1 p.m.

Admission: $7, children 17 and under admitted free accompanied by an adult