Cultural festival coming to Storm Lake April 27
Buena Vista University Intercultural Programs is bringing Fiesta Latina to the community this month, with an assist from the city government.
"We want everyone to have a taste of the Latino culture," said Marlin Bravo, president of Raices, a Latino organization at BVU.
This year the organizers asked the city council to allow the celebration to be held at Chautauqua Park on April 27 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Monday night, the council agreed, with a number of the student organizers on hand. The council approved a noise variance and a request to close Chautauqua Park Road from Hudson to Lakeshore for the event.
Festiva Latina is a celebration of Cinco de Mayo ("5th of May"), with its roots in a Mexican victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla in 1867. Today it is considered a regional holiday in Mexico, but it most recognized in the United States as a time to celebrate the culture and experiences of Americans of Mexican ancestry.
Fiesta Latina puts a Storm Lake spin on the tradition, with contests, child-friendly events and plenty of food and local performers.
Fiesta Latina organizers hope that taking their event into the public park will encourage more people of all ethnic backgrounds to take part.
"For the first time in history it will be held off campus and it is our hope to attract families and friends in Buena Vista County and surrounding cities and communities," said Leon Williams, BVU Director of Intercultural Programs and advisor for Raices.
Members of Raices, like former President Katia Barragan, feel the scenic, highly-visible location may bring new attention to showcase the celebration and its multicultural purpose. "I think it's going to be more exciting and more people will come," said Barragan. "It's (Chautauqua Park) very popular."
In previous years the event has been held on campus either on the South Forum lawn or an indoors location during inclement weather. Attendance from outside the campus community has been limited.
This year's event will include non-profit food vendors, inflatables for children, live bands, a Latin hip hop DJ, dance troupes, arts and crafts, contests. Some of the performers are expected to come from as far as Omaha and Des Moines. Contests will include a jalepeno pepper eating contest, talent show contests and breakdancing contests.
"There will be a lot of good family fun," said Williams.
The event is open to the public, there is no admission charge. For more information, contact Barragan at 749-0031.