By Emma Kaohi | The Broadside (Contact: email@example.com)
As Mexican music sang out and dancers tapped across the floor, the annual Latino “Fiesta Celebración” held in Central Oregon Community College’s Coats Campus Center celebrated Mexican culture and tradition.
The Latin@ student program coordinates the free event every year, however sponsors included COCC Student Life, the Associated Students of COCC and multiple local businesses.
Guests were able to enjoy Folklórico dancers while enjoying catered food and Mexican desserts like tres leches cake (milk cake), limones cocadas (coconut-stuffed lime) and cake pops decorated with the Mexico flag, made by the Latin@ and Culinary Club members.
“It was fun to hang out and do something with another club. We get to see the high school students sometimes, but to make the desserts with the Culinary Club was cool. I was able to learn how to make new desserts from people that know what they’re doing and everything turned out tasting really good,” said Latin@ club member Zoe Davidman.
Traditional Mexican candies like Bazukazo Tarugos Tamarind, Bandera de Coco and Obela’s were also available to eat, along with Horchata, which is a rice, milk and cinnamon drink popular in Mexico and other Latin countries.
“It’s important for COCC to put on these events because it brings culture and diversity, and that’s really important on any college campus,” said Davidman. “There was a large portion of the public that came in that you don’t see every day on campus that were able to enjoy the music and food and dance.”
This event, although put on by the Latin@ student program, falls under the Office of Multicultural Activities. COCC believes that multicultural activities will enrich the learning experience on campus, committing themselves to provide a work environment that will “respect and educate about cultural differences.”
Dances were put on by companies from around Central Oregon, with the children at Bear Creek Elementary performing Folklórico, a Spanish folk dance performed in long skirts for the women, and cowboy-like attire for the men.
“I’m not used to seeing Spanish culture because of where I’m from, so seeing the dances and stuff for the first time was cool to experience,” said first-year student Kori Rice. “I loved the skirts and masks. The culture is just exciting and really lively.”
Upon entering, the Latin@ Club had a table handing out free t-shirts and accepting a recommended donation, which helped cover costs of the fiesta as well as Latin@ Club scholarships and other programs. To apply for the scholarship, students must demonstrate financial need, promise and dedication to COCC and the Latin@ Club.
Children also had the opportunity to jump around Willie Hall in the bouncy houses, or dress up in props to take pictures in a photo booth. The activity-filled fiesta brought culture to COCC’s campus to aid in enriching the lives as tradition and customs were taught. ■