Latin Hispanic Alliance hosts annual Hispanic heritage festival


Mayesivy Carlson

Crystal Gomez-Aguilar performs “Canta no Llores” on trumpet to an audience at the Latin Hispanic Heritage Festival, Sept. 23, 2022.

Nataly Aguiar, Reporter

The Latin Hispanic Alliance hosted their annual Hispanic Heritage Month festival Friday featuring an array of games, food and activities for all.

People gathered around the front of Plemmons Student Union at 3:30 p.m. to watch the contestants chug down Jarritos, a Mexican soda brand, and cheered as they watched who could finish eating jalapeños the fastest. 

Melanies, a local Hispanic family-owned business, had a table set up where volunteers handed out esquites, fresas con crema and cups of sliced fruit free of charge. Volunteers also handed out traditional Mexican sweet breads and flags of different countries for all to show off their Hispanic heritage pride.

 The afternoon was full of laughs shared over games like Jenga and cornhole, and there was face painting and a table dedicated to coloring. Guatemalan handicrafts were also being sold.

Students gather on Sanford Mall to celebrate Latin Hispanic heritage at a festival hosted by the Latin Hispanic Alliance, Sept. 23, 2022 (Mayesivy Carlson)

Items such as woven bags, wallets, hats and beaded necklaces had labels attached to them with the names of the indigenous Copal AA women who made them. One hundred percent of the proceeds went directly to the small community in Guatemala.

The Multicultural Greek Council collaborated with LHA to present a salsa dance workshop hosted by Thomas Sosa, vice president of Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity Inc.

 Queen In You, an organization that aims to empower women of color, were also at the event. The organization is running a book drive until Oct. 15 where all books will be donated to the Immigrant Justice Coalition. Donation boxes can be found in the Multicultural Center, Women’s Center, on tables in Plemmons Student Union and the club hub LHA room. 

Seven performers graced the sidewalk at the bottom of the union’s staircase, beginning with the group “La rosas Y El Clavel” who presented a dance in traditional attire. 

Several other performers played the guitar and the trumpet. Music of all genres were represented with reggaeton, opera and classics the crowd sang along to like “Juan Colorado,” “Hasta la Raíz,” “Dulcito e Coco” and “Hermoso Cariño.” 

To wrap up the event, members of LHA and the crowd took turns spinning while blindfolded to take their best hit at the piñatas. 

“It was such a great experience to make it feel like a home away from home for so many people,” wrote Jojo Bonilla, LHA’s secretary. “Many people don’t realize how big our community is until we do things like this and I feel so blessed to be able to put together things like this so they can all feel a part of something.”

 The association also plans to make some changes to next year’s festival.

 “We are looking to make this festival bigger and bigger as the years pass and the Hispanic/Latine population of Boone grows, showing that we are here and we are proud,” said Carlos Ruiz, vice president of LHA.