?Orale! You Should've Been There!

Oxnard's Barrio by the Sea Salsa Festival exceeds all expectations

By Frankie Firme
Published on LatinoLA: July 30, 2002

?Orale! You Should've Been There!

?Orale! If you missed it, you missed out!

The 2002 Oxnard Salsa Festival held in the "Barrio by the Sea" -- Oxnard ,Califas --was all it was promoted to be and more.

There was well over 40,000 plus gente both Saturday & Sunday, enjoying the California sunshine, the cool ocean breezes of Oxnard and some of the best salsa music and dancing in the country! The beautiful people of Oxnard made some righteous efforts to make people feel welcome and safe, and all I could see all around was love & smiles.

There was the familiar "Gracias-a-Dios-soy-Latino" aroma of cooking carne asada and carnitas in the air, children dancing and running around as only happy children can, non-stop music and all the elements that gave this event the familiarity of a backyard bar-b-que con la familia y buen camaradas.

As a retired Vato Loco from the San Gabriel Valley, I've become accustomed to the looks of suspicion/contempt I sometimes get when I walk into unfamiliar turf -- hey, it's a Chicano thing...what can I say? -- dressed up as the Low-Riding Radio Character "Frankie Firme".

But as soon as I arrived, I was immediately approached by a couple of homies who greeted me with broad smiles and a cheerful "?Orale! ?Welcome to Oxnard, ese!".

After letting my heart settle -- like I said, it's a Chicano thing -- I headed towards the beer and margarita garden, where I was greeted by about ten Latino bikers. The sight of these guys would've caused most white folks in L.A. to pick up their cel phones and call somebody. Again I was greeted with warm smiles, hand shakes and invitations to "Have a good time in Oxnard, bro!"

This is what Aztlan is about, I thought. The sight of these big dudes dancing with their mothers, or tias, or wives, or girlfriends, and even with some elderly white women (as I saw firsthand) was a sight that told me "we have come of age".

I mean, where else can you have thousands of Latinos, lots of beautiful women, lots of familia, lots of food and alcohol, lots of butt shaking music, people from different trips (low riders, Salseros, bikers, rockers, hip hoppers, etc.)and NO PEDO or PLATOS?!?

Gotta be Oxnard, Califas, carnales!

Sharing some love and having a good time was what it was all about at Plaza Park this week-end!

Then there was the music! As usual, heavy hitters such as Nuestro and The Susie Hansen Latin Band gave the crowd what they waited all year for. The dance groups and the other bands jumped in kept the crowds dancing. The dance floor was so crowded that people happily and easily broke out into dance wherever they happened to be.

When the newcomers, the Leslie Paula Band, broke out in the closing hours of the festival Sunday afternoon with their saucy combination of salsa, oldies and Latin jazz, dance floors seemed to erupt all over the park! I saw people dancing in concession stand lines, in the beer gardens, and even in the parking lots!

Suffice to say I had a real good time, I was made to feel at home amongst familia, and I will definitely be back next year, bringing some of my familia y camaradas from my part of Califas with me.

See you there next year Raza!

About Frankie Firme:
Frankie Firme plays the finest Chicano style low riding & cruizing Oldies but Goodies every Thursday at 6:00pm PST on http://www.kclafm.com

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