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By Justin Overmiller | Pulse Staff Reporter

PACfest 2012

Food, fun and live entertainment gave us an exciting time at this year’s PACfest.

PACfest is an official Fiesta event that takes place the Thursday before the Battle of Flowers Parade. Started in the late ‘80s, PACfest is a non-alcoholic family-friendly event that has live music and vendors. It’s located at Palo Alto College and helps student organizations and small vendors raise funds.

“What I love about PACfest is that it is a locally run event. The whole campus comes out to help with this event,” said Virginia Stowitts-Traina, associate professor of Government and member of PACfest’s Steering Committee.

“I had an awesome time at PACfest. The music was great and I loved the variety of the food vendors, I can’t wait till next year,” said freshman Music major Steven Henry Serrato.

More than 50 food and craft vendors participate in the annual event. Between 5,000 to 10,000 people stop by PACfest each year. Other activities taking place throughout the day included a children’s educational area, agricultural/nutritional areas, a military display, a car show, a dog walk and a roller derby exhibition by Charmed Forces. Ms. Fiesta, El Rey Feo and other Fiesta royalties visited PACfest.

PACfest is run by volunteers from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Faculty and staff run the ticket booths, while students help out with recycling and drink booths.

Planning the live entertainment is crucial to PACfest. The entertainment ranges from larger bands on the main stage to a more local scene on the second stage. Generations Federal Credit Union is this year’s big corporate sponsor.

“We want to have music throughout the entire event, so that when there are no main stage acts, we have plenty of good music going on in between,” said Stowitts-Traina.

This year’s lineup included Mariachi Palomino, the Spazmatics, The Groove Doctors, River City Kings, Ready Revolution, Mario Flores and the Soda Creek Band, MYTI and Gabriela Soul, The Chemist, Radio Revolver, Reecluse, Elora  Valdez & the Gasoline Alley Band, Conjunto Palo Alto and Cleto Rodriguez, who introduced Frankie Ballard the up-and-coming country artist hailing from Battle Creek, Michigan. Having toured with famous artist like Taylor Swift and Bob Seger, Ballard was an exciting part of this year’s PACfest.

Some of the musical performers are local Palo Alto College students, like the Mariachi band and Ready Revolution. Being a musician and a full-time student is no easy task. Dedication, practicing music and studying, are needed to be successful at both.

“I usually try to get any homework or studying in right after class, so as soon as I get home I can focus on my music,” said Antonio “MYTI” Frank, a local hip hop artist and Palo Alto Kinesiology major. MYTI, Antonio’s stage name, is an artist who is trying to bring a unique sound to the world of hip hop.

PACfest will continue to bring its family-friendly, non-alcoholic, official Fiesta event to the South Side of San Antonio, while giving marketing opportunities to area businesses and Palo Alto organizations.