Annual Hispanic Heritage Festival comes to Legends

The+Appalachian+Online

The Appalachian Online

Kelsey Hamm

The Hispanic Student Association will hold its annual Hispanic Heritage Festival at Legends on Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16.

The festival is held in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. This year the event also acknowledges the 50th anniversary of race integration at Appalachian, said Aneisy Cardo, the president of the Hispanic Student Association and a senior mathematics major.

“The festival will feature Latin American poetry, dance performances, food, games, a jalapeno eating contest and a soccer dribbling contest,” Cardo said. “There will also be dance lessons and a dance party at the end of the night and PowerPoints with information about different Hispanic countries.”

The introduction to the festival will be done in both English and Spanish, Cardo said.

The club teamed up with Appalachian Popular Programing Society’s Cultural Awareness and Student Engagement Council to book the event at Legends. The council assisted the club with advertising for the event, said Karissa Goff, the council chair and a senior psychology major.

“This is a great example of our mission statement, which is primarily to work with minority groups on campus and the events that they have a real passion for,” Goff said. “We want to reach out to [the] Hispanic population in Watauga County as well.”

Sophomore biology major Angela Benitez said she is looking forward to the event.

“Last year the jalapeno eating contest was very intense, and just for that I will go again,” Benitez said. “The festival has an admission fee this year, but it’s worth it to have the event at Legends.”

Cardo said that the festival is not about the profit.

“We are trying to make the festival as informational as possible,” Cardo said. “This is our biggest event of the year, and we are happy to be partnering with APPS. We do this for the community and the students.”

Hispanic students currently make up 4 percent of the Appalachian State University student population. Cardo said she hopes for a turnout of more than 100 people at the festival.

In addition to the Hispanic Heritage Festival, the Hispanic Student Association holds one Latin dance night during the fall semester and two in the spring semester.  Members of the club work with Hispanic students at Watauga County High School and Hardin Park Elementary School, Cardo said.

The doors to the festival will open at 5:30 p.m. and the event will start at 6 p.m. Tickets are $3 in advance and $5 at the door. The proceeds from the event will go to APPS.

Story: Kelsey Hamm, Intern A&E Reporter