Fiery Fiesta

Despite the hot weekend, Fiesta Hermosa’s various booths and amazing food vendors drew huge crowds.


Photo by Romi Riss

As my friends and I walked up to a table one woman greeted us with possibly the most beautiful sentence I had heard the whole weekend: “Do you want to come in the shade? We have a big fan here too.” Despite the massive heat wave, Fiesta Hermosa was still as enjoyable as ever. I was pleased to see some of the same vendors as previous years and some interesting new ones. 

One stand that really caught my eye was two women selling glass jewelry. My sweaty friends and I scooched together to get as much cool air as possible, and it wasn’t until the heat stopped stinging our skin that we noticed the absolutely mesmerizing jewelry in front of us.

As we all gawked in awe, the woman told us that she has a glass making studio in her basement back in North Dakota. 

“A couple times a year I’ll travel around going to little festivals like this one to make some extra money. I usually spend about three to four months back home making things before I go and sell again,” she said. 

One of the only things that doesn’t excite me about Fiesta Hermosa is how overpriced some of the art is, but all of her items were very reasonably priced. I got two necklaces: one small red glass heart and one blown teardrop shaped necklace that looks like a galaxy in the sun for only $35. 

The star of Fiesta Hermosa, however, has to be the food. While walking down to the festival one of my friends was raving about a new food truck called Creamy Boys. It’s marketed as New Zealand style ice cream made with real fruit and all natural ingredients. My friend told me I had to get the “hokey pokey” flavor, and despite its odd name, it actually wasn’t an odd flavor. It was simply vanilla ice cream topped with some honeycomb toffee. I appreciated the fact that they offered dairy-free as well as regular options for all the flavors but I decided to ignore my lactose intolerance to get the full experience. Safe to say my friend was right: that was some mouth-watering ice cream unlike anything I’d ever tasted. 

The rest of the food was just as amazing—from the crunchy and powerfully flavored empanadas from The Empanada Factory to the juicy tacos from El Tarasco. The kettlecorn never disappoints, and it’s the one thing I make sure to get every year. I can smell the sweet and salty treat from a mile away. The Fiesta Hermosa staple lemonade was as refreshing as ever and really saved me from dehydration a few times. 

Although I got to experience all the fun parts this weekend, I also realized I’d seen the stressful parts of it as well. Fiesta Hermosa weekend is not so much fun for the people working on the pier during that time. Having worked during Fiesta Hermosa four times before, I was able to empathize with the employees and their struggles this weekend. Senior Stella Vucho is a hostess at the newly opened restaurant Vista and experienced working during the “hectic weekend” for the first time. Vucho initially knew the weekend was going to be stressful because of the crowds, but found that the heat is what really sent her over the edge. 

“Knowing it was going to be that hot made me really nervous because I thought I’d be too overwhelmed. There weren’t that many people because they were mainly all at the food trucks, but the heat still left me feeling wiped out,” Vucho said.

Vucho knew there was not much to do in preparation for the weekend except one thing: “Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen.”

While Vucho’s main worry was the weather, recently graduated RUHS alumnus Ukyo Vincent was concerned about the amount of people coming into his work at Capri Gelato. This past weekend being his fourth Fiesta Hermosa, Vincent considers himself a veteran of the weekend. 

“It’s always been chaotic for sure. Most of my coworkers are panicking and I’ve seen some crying just from being so exhausted after a shift. In the past it used to be worse because the machines and freezers were so old that sometimes they’d shut down from being used so much and we’d run out of gelato, but now that the new company moved in that’s not a big worry,” he said. 

Vincent finds that Fiesta Hermosa is always stressful for him, but his fun coworkers take the edge off and “make time fly.” 

“At the end of the day I work at a very laid-back company so working is mainly fun most of the time. The big rush of people also brings in some interesting characters so I always leave Fiesta Hermosa with a funny story to tell,” Vincent said. 

Putting aside the heat and the amount of people, Fiesta Hermosa still proves to be a fun weekend with something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re there for the food, the rides or the trinkets, it’s a great chance to appreciate Hermosa Beach’s scenery and classic beach weather.