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Fiesta Broadway: When 150,000 people is not enough.

April 28, 2008 |  9:49 am

FiestaSunday's Fiesta Broadway, billed as the nation's largest Latino festival, drew an estimated 150,000 people to downtown Los Angeles to get a jump on Cinco de Mayo celebrations. That's a huge number, based on LAPD estimates, but far below the 500,000 that organizers had been projecting and below previous years, according to L.A. Opinion (story in Spanish). Vendors reported a drop in food sales, parking lot operators pointed to all the empty spaces, and there were no major traffic problems as in previous years, the Spanish-language daily noted. 

Some people blamed the weak attendance on the hot weather, which at one point prompted the Fire Department to hose down overheated festival-goers. While organizers concede attendance fell short of expectations, they estimate, based on information from the Fire Department, that 400,000 people came downtown for the event. 

Attendance figures at public events, from parades and rallies, are always in dispute. In the case of Fiesta Broadway, perhaps everyone should adopt a Torta Sales Index to measure attendance. Vendor Patricia Martinez said she sold about 1,000 of the Mexican-style sandwiches last year. This year's total: fewer than 600.

-- Jesus Sanchez

Photo: Anne Cusack