By Kevin Swenson
Worcester – Assumption College put on its eighth annual Latino Festival on Thursday, Oct. 9 in the Hagan Campus Center at 6:00 PM. While the event was a fun day for both performers and attendees, it was the set up that seemed most interesting.
The band, Grupo Fantasia, seen above practicing for the event, arrived 35 minutes early to begin their practicing and sound checking for the event. While the construction of the event began hours before the event…
“I love the Latino Festival, not just for the food or the music, but really what it represents,” says Lopez recalling the purpose of the event. “People come and hang out and stuff, but this is for Latino Heritage month. A month for people of Latino background to come and really be proud of their heritage”
Erika Lopez is the community outreach person for Assumption’s ALANA Network. Lopez in the class for 2015, and is graduating with a degree in International Business. Lopez has been on ALANA’s Executive Board for three years and has been a member of ALANA for four. Lopez and fellow executive board member Kiara Serret, were both in charge of running the Latino Festival.
The event is designed to really show off Latino culture in a school that has a heavy white population within it. The tables at this event brandish flags from a variety of Central and South American countries, with facts about famous people from those countries. The goal is to not only represent each country but show any of that background who they should be proud of. Notable figures include George Lopez, Marco Rubio, Selena Gomez, and Che Guevara.
Along with the band, the festival found itself having three different dance performances. One including student and host of the event Michael “Flash” Blandon ’16 and graduate Jessica Familia ’14. After them came the dance group Raices, a local group from Worcester, who was to perform a traditional Salsa dance; they were followed up by Ritmos Academy of Latin Dance, another local dance group who also danced a more modern style of Salsa.
“The performances are just so great to watch, I mean they really show off what these people have created for themselves as a culture,” Says Jackie Luoro senior and President of the ALANA Network at Assumption. “It’s truly a beautiful culture and the dancing really shows that.”
The executive board members, alongside their 15 volunteers, found themselves struggling at one point during the set up process as they could not find a suitable way to hang their Piñata. It was clear that the ceiling in the space they were using could not support the weight of something so heavy. In the end, however, Vice President and senior English Literature major Kevin Swenson, was able to secure the Piñata to a support column that was behind the tiled ceiling.
There was also an issue in terms of the heating of the food. Using Sternos, or the flammable cans used to heat large trays of food, the group in charge of setting up almost burnt the food. The water that was used to heat the food was becoming too hot causing a lot of smoke to rise from the trays. Luckily, the problem was snubbed out quickly before it was too much of a problem for the event.
By the time the event began, Director the ALANA Network, Beatriz Patiño brought in the cake that was to be served and the room seemed to settle like the calm for the storm. As students came in and the music began to play, it was clear that Assumption was ready for the Latino Festival.