New Iberia won’t see its annual Spanish festival this year, but followers of the region’s rich Spanish heritage got the chance to celebrate Saturday at the Spanish gala hosted by La Asociación Española de Nueva Iberia.
The gala, which is the club and festival’s main fundraiser for the events they host throughout the year, was held at the Sliman Theater and was full of local supporters, cooks and visiting kings.
“It was good, very busy,” said Association Vice President Brinkley Lopez at the event. “We had less than a couple of months to organize this so it was very interesting.”
The gala included a live and silent auction, seafood from local chefs, and musical entertainment. Usually the gala includes flamenco dancers entertaining the audience for the fundraiser, but due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions, Lopez said it was not feasible this year.
“We had a little challenge to find entertainment this year,” she said. “We usually have flamenco dancers, but because of COVID and travel, that couldn’t happen.
Instead, Lopez said the club invited New Iberia singer Keely Brennan to perform.
“We have Keely who we’re really looking forward to. She just recorded her first single and we are happy to have it, ”she said.
The Asociación Española de Nueva Iberia is a New Iberia organization established to preserve New Iberia’s Spanish heritage. She is also responsible for running the Spanish Festival of New Iberia or the El Festival Español de Nueva Iberia.
Instead of the usual focus on the region’s French heritage, the festival celebrates the creation of New Iberia families who were actually of Spanish ancestry. Genealogy workshops and other research aids are held for each festival.
The festival has also helped build a relationship between New Iberia and its twin town, Alhaurin de la Torre. Dignitaries and even the mayor come to New Iberia regularly each year to attend the festival.
However, the association made the decision to postpone the event this year, mainly due to a desire to host the New Iberia Spanish Festival in April 2022.
“We wanted it in the fall, but we decided not to have it in the fall,” said Lopez. “We want to continue with Aprilfest in 2022 and we didn’t want to do it one after the other.”
There were also some changes in the structure of the club. Ebrar Reaux, the association’s longtime president, said he would resign so James Migues could take responsibility for the role and Lopez would serve as president.