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Paletas, peanuts and Cracker Jack at Kauffman Stadium

Paletas in the prairie’s most beautiful backdrop

Major League Baseball’s return means warm weather and even some Mexican paletas. Optimism remains throughout most of the 30 big-league cities. Ken Burns’ famous ‘Baseball’ documentary’s opening narration perfectly describes America’s pastime.

“It follows the seasons, beginning each year with the fond expectancy of springtime, and ending with the hard facts of autumn,” Burns’ documentary poetically notes. 

Since celebrating Opening Day out in the Midwest prairie at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium and catching a game at Wrigley, I’ve had the pleasure of attending a few games this season. Opening Day was a gorgeous day to open the season with sunny skies and temperature in the high 60s. 

My favorite part besides the baseball at Kauffman Stadium was finding genuine Mexican food and snacks in section 239 from famous local Mexican paleteria Palacana. 

Paletas sweeten Kauffman Stadium

For a second season Kauffman Stadium has local favorite Palacana, formerly known as Tropicana, to serve Kansas Citians’ big appetite for Mexican fare. Having Palacana at the stadium more than quenches a sweet tooth. It also shows the Royals’ commitment to authenticity. 

It’s a no-brainer because it is good business. The famous Mexican Paleteria chain in Kansas City sells Mexican paletas, helados (ice cream), fruta (fruit) and, of course, everybody’s favorite corn in a cup.  

It may seem strange to many that a ballpark in the middle of the country would even serve authentic Mexican snacks and food. It shouldn’t be. Kansas City has had people of Mexican descent since the 1800s. 


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According to a report done by Kansas City-area agency Fresco Marketing, the Kansas City metro and the region has experienced continued growth of Latinos. The majority of that growth is from people of a Mexican background. 

Palacana is the product of Jose Luis Valdez, a Mexican Immigrant from Mexico City. Valdez took a storefront paleteria on the city’s historic west side and turned it into a staple in the region. 

During Kansas City’s sweltering summer days at “The K” a paleta from Palacana or a cup of Royal’s blueberry blue could be your relief to that Missouri humidity.

Successful immigrant story

Valdez’s first job as a child was selling paletas on the streets of Mexico City when he was 7 years old. In 2004 with support from his wife they opened their first shop.  

Palacana now employs over 60 and has three locations in the Kansas City metro owned and operated by the family. The company also has three franchise-style partnerships.

Mexican immigrant Jose Luis Valdez is proud to have his Palacana paletas on sale at Kauffman Stadium.

For me it was literally refreshing to see Palacana at The K. It is also refreshing to see a genuine partnership between a high-profile professional sports team and a local small business owner whose story is the example that perhaps the American dream still exists with hard work and ganas (desire). 

I hope to see more partnerships like Palacana in America’s sports venues. These partnerships provide our people a sense of belonging and, more importantly, it’s simply good for business. 

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