Fiesta Medina and the Cactus Rose Bear

OrlandotropicalfestivalI truly wish you could have heard through this screen yesterday. See, I had been out and about running some errands, grabbing some materials, visiting with George at his house. Somewhere around 6pm I made my way back home. But, the closer I got to my apartment, the more I could hear the sound of latin music, and just before reaching my front door, the aroma of paella and pork and spices came wafting through the air. It didn’t take long for me to remember that I had forgotten all about Fiesta Medina! DAMN!

Do you remember my blog about the Cuban sandwich from Medina’s my first week back? Well, apparently, that sandwich is only the tip of the iceberg. The story goes a little something like this. Forty years ago when Medina opened up his little Spanish grocery store, it soon became a place of refuge for newly migrated Latinos. And I don’t mean as a place for people to find food that reminded them of home, no I mean Medina’s was a place for SERIOUS refuge. Many didn’t speak very much English, didn’t know how to get a place to live, a doctor, none of it. Medina stepped in and became not just the friendly grocer, but the man who helped people get established and on their feet. He brought a lot of hope to a fledgling community of immigrants….and now? Well, Orlando is second to Miami in Spanish influence and population.

Anyway, because of all the kindness and help Medina offered, a small group of people got together to throw him a celebration, a party to honor his kindness. And the next year more people came. Because what you find in moments like this, is that the generosity you show someone can indeed be infectious. The following year even more people showed up, they bringing friends and food to honor a man who helped their community in simple ways. Here it is, 26 years after the first event and its one of the LARGEST outdoor parties in Central Florida. Thousands of people show up, as it has now developed into a celebration of the Latin culture itself.

I knew it was around this time of year, but I just wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize it was yesterday! DANG IT! It was almost over!

But, you know I’m resourceful, I’m optimistic, and will find a way to enjoy the simple joys in life. The park the festival was being held in is only 2 blocks away. So, I threw open my front door, my windows, and allowed the music and aroma to waft in. Then I set up a pot, got some onions and garlic going, some cumin, and got to making some Cuban black beans and rice.  Then I pulled out this skein of Lionbrand’s Amazing in Cactus Rose (yeah, you can feel a theme here) and started on a teddy bear.  And yes, I will admit that on occasion when I got up to get something to drink or stretch my legs, I did a little samba dance. 🙂 I got to enjoy Fiesta Medina after all… my own little way.

72The bear came out nicely. This is what I love about Amazing. No two bears end up looking the same. And there, see that lovely ring around the muzzle? That’s just pure, joyous accident. You can adopt him here. He’s the only one so you better be quick!

I think while I’m knitting today I’ll throw in a little more samba dancing…..just cuz 🙂



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