Grace Bodey | Copy Editor
Children, students of all ages, and parents of various ethnic backgrounds bundled up to brave the chilly weather on April 22 from 1-6 p.m. for the annual Hispanic party in Chautauqua Park, Fiesta Latina. Buena Vista University’s (BVU) cultural and social interest group RAICES holds this event every year: a culmination of spicy food, loud music, Hispanic culture, and family-friendly entertainment. Fiesta Latina is the product of thousands of dollars of donated money, food stuffs, equipment, and piñatas. Members of RAICES begin their planning process every year by going out into the community and calling out to local businesses (many with Latino backgrounds) to participate in any way they are able. This year, a coalition formed to make donations even greater.
The result was a vast array of edible choices, fruity drinks, hands-on games for the children, multi-colored and bouncy inflatables, prizes, live bands, dancing, and probably most important of all, the time spent in community together. Miguel Munoz-Gomez, President of RAICES, was excited to share how Fiesta Latina is a triumphant day full of great smells, great entertainment, great conversation, and great teamwork.
“I have been involved with RAICES since I started here as a freshman…But this year as President, I have taken on a much bigger role,” Munoz-Gomez says. “Everyone is invited, and BVU students are particularly the ones given the task of serving and putting on this event. It would be impossible to do it without them, so we’re ever grateful for everyone who volunteers.”
The crowds have steadily been increasing in size over the years, although last year’s turnout was much thinner due to rain and crummy weather. This year, a little sunshine poked through, and more people showed up.
When asked how he knows if this year’s Fiesta Latina was a success or not, Munoz-Gomez states that one can just tell.
“When people leave home happy? [laughing] Stomachs full. Children are giggling: holding bunches of prizes and having a good time,” Munoz-Gomez explains. “It’s a pretty big crowd. The entertainment is here. The music is going. Kids are playing, so I’m happy. I’m content.”