The city's first 'on again, off again' Fiesta begins on Thursday, 1200 WOAI's Stephanie Narvaez reports.


  Fiesta Commission Executive Director John Melleky says because Good Friday and Easter Sunday fall right in the middle of what would have been the first weekend of Fiesta, the decision was made to split Fiesta up into two parts.


  But Melleky says Fiesta won't stop for Holy Weekend.  He says the decision was made not to stage, for example, the Battle of Flowers Parade on Good Friday, but there will still be appropriate activities on Easter Weekend.


   "Fiesta is a fusion of arts, heritage and culture," he said.  "With that in mind, Easter is big here, as a big cultural event."


  So Fiesta formally begins on Thursday with Fiesta Fiesta and the Carnival, and continues this weekend with the traditional 'first weekend' events like the Taste of New Orleans and the St. Mary's Oyster Bake starting on Friday and running through Sunday.


  But then Fiesta takes a bit of a breather.  Usually the River Parade is the Monday after the first weekend events end, but this year the River Parade won't be until the following Monday the 21st and NIOSA begins Tuesday the 22nd.


  But Melleky says that doesn't mean there won't be events during Holy Week.


  "People will be coming in for Easter and then being able to stay for Fiesta, so we don't see any dips in attendance at all," he said.


  Holy Week, which is a holiday in Mexico, generally sees people flocking here for shopping and events anyway, so Melleky says there will be activities all during next week, including the River Art Show, the Hat Contest, Fiesta Especial, and special Fiesta themed events at the Witte and McNay.


  Then the Monday after Easter, comes the River Parade, NIOSA, the Battle of Flowers Parade on Friday the 25th and Fiesta Flambeau Saturday the 26th.  Fiesta wraps up on the 17th.


  So technically, this will be the longest Fiesta celebration ever, at 17 days, but it will happen in an unusual format.