The annual celebration of Latino heritage, “Fiesta Latina,” will be held at Chautauqua Park on April 22 from 1-6 p.m. The event — which is free and open to the public will feature games, food, music and activities for all ages. It is coordinated by RAICES, a student organization at Buena Vista University.
“Fiesta Latina is first and foremost a community celebration for all,” says Yorgun Marcel, director of intercultural programs at BVU. “We hope through this event to strengthen the ties of community within the different cultures of Latino heritage represented within Storm Lake and to support community building with all cultures existing within Storm Lake.”
Among the BVU organizations providing funding for the event include BVU’s Student Senate, Student Activities Board, the Office of Intercultural Programs, the Weekend Programming Committee, the Alcohol Fund, and the Office of Student Success. Community partners include Storm Lake United and Valentina’s Meat Market.
“What I view as the most important aspect of Fiesta Latina is that the Storm Lake community learns just how diverse our population really is,” says Miguel Munoz-Gomez, president of RAICES and head of this year’s Fiesta Latina entertainment committee. “By celebrating the Latino culture, we are trying to highlight the wonderful melting pot of backgrounds, traditions, and ideas that Storm Lake has become.” Miguel is a junior Spanish and biology double major from Storm Lake.
The afternoon festivities begin at 1 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., there will be a performance by the dancers of Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc. At 4:30 p.m., BVU’s Latin dance group, Fuego, is scheduled to perform. The Sioux City-based Mariachi band, Mariachi Nuevo Guachinango, will perform at 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The event will also feature food vendors representing the Latin American culture, and activities including inflatable games, arts and crafts, a three-legged race, carnival games, and a jalapeño eating contest. Proceeds from food sales will be donated to St. Mary’s Church in Storm Lake. Approximately 600 people attended the event in 2011.
“I hope Fiesta Latina shows the community the importance of diversity and understanding and celebrating other cultures,” says Estefany Gonzalez, a sophomore accounting major from Orange City, who is also the treasurer of RAICES and is in charge of the event’s budget committee. “Latinos make up a large part of the Storm Lake and surrounding communities, so it’s important to have an open mind. I am hopeful that this event will open the door for other similar events that celebrate the other cultures that are present in our community.”