A half-mile stretch of SW 29 Street will be closed Sunday afternoon for an outdoor festival that is expected to draw about 15,000 people.
The event is called Festival La 29 using the Spanish pronunciation for the street name — veintinueve. Featuring everything from clowns and youth boxing matches to live Latin music and food, the event will celebrate “El Dia del Nino” or “Day of the Child” commonly observed in many Spanish-speaking countries in April to celebrating childhood and the well-being of children.
Businesses along SW 29 and the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce also hope the efforts will raise money to help organizers start a business improvement district for the SW 29 Street Corridor that will fund street improvements like sidewalks and street lights between Shields Boulevard and May Avenue.
“A lot of new businesses are coming to the area, but we’d really like to make the street more welcoming and make it look nice,” said Ramiro Vasquez, owner of La Oaxaquena Bakery on SW 29.
Vasquez is one of the business owners in the area who has been helping to organize the business improvement district process. As part of the Sunday’s festival, La Oaxaquena is sponsoring a youth talent show. The bakery will give a scholarship for the winner to join an extracurricular activity or club of their choosing.
Last year’s inaugural festival on SW 29 drew more than 10,000 attendees, and organizers are thinking bigger this year, closing off a larger area and adding more attractions, said Emma Dean Kratochwill, business development coordinator with the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“Last year, they didn’t do a lot of marketing, but word spread really fast that the street was closed. It just kind of grew,” Kratochwill said. “It was a constant flow of people and we’re hoping the same thing happens this year.”
Hub of commerce
This year’s Festival La 29, runs from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday and is free to the public. Kratochwill expects one of the biggest attractions to this year’s event will be appearances from the Oklahoma City Energy Football Club and the University of Oklahoma’s women’s soccer team.
SW 29 has changed since Chip Oppenheim’s grandfather, Leo Oppenheim, and a business partner developed the Economy Square Shopping Center at SW 29 and May Avenue more than 50 years ago, Chip Oppenheim said. The area now is home to a vibrant and growing Hispanic community and SW 29 has become a hub of commerce.
Oppenheim is the third generation of his family to own Economy Square and one of the largest property owners in a proposed SW 29 Street business improvement district.
Today, the shopping center’s tenants include Supermercado Buy For Less, which caters to the area’s growing Hispanic community with items such as fresh tortillas and other specialty items.
Oppenheim hopes Sunday’s Festival La 29 will help raise money to get the business improvement district process underway. A majority of businesses and property owners in the area must approve the proposal to get the improvement district process underway.
Oppenheim hopes that when organized, business owners in the area can fund the street improvements.
“SW 29th Street has a very big economic impact, which a lot of people don’t realize. But it’s not ever been organized among merchants and property owners and the area needs revitalization and beautification,” he said.
SW 29th Street has a very big economic impact, which a lot of people don’t realize. But it’s not ever been organized among merchants and property owners and the area needs revitalization and beautification.”
Economy Square owner