DeKALB – Conexion Comunidad kicked off National Hispanic Heritage Month on Saturday with its ninth annual fiesta in downtown DeKalb.
The day centered on Hispanic heritage, but Kristina Garcia, president of Conexion Comunidad, said there’s something for everyone – Spanish foods, music, dancing at the Van Buer Plaza, games and information booths by local sponsors and nonprofits. Conexion Comunidad is a nonprofit that promotes leadership through culture and arts.
“We really want to bring to everyone, all the different diversities we have living here in DeKalb,” Garcia said. “We just want to celebrate with the entire community and promote diversity.”
The fiesta started in the early afternoon and ran through 10 p.m.
Entertainment consisted of Ballet Folklorico out of Sandwich, a hip-hop demonstration by WILLPOWER, a performance by RtumbA and a demonstration by members of the DeKalb Salsa Club. A DJ played Mexican music.
Miriam Parra’s daughter, Mia, 6, is part of Ballet Folklorico Rayitos del Sol and was scheduled to perform. Miriam Parra’s mother, Juana Parra, was attending the fiesta for the second year in a row, and said it was a little different from fiestas she remembers in Mexico, but that she enjoys DeKalb’s undertaking.
“She just loves the whole idea of everyone doing this,” Miriam Parra said.
Rosario Quesada wore a colorful, Mexican-style skirt she inherited from a family member as she unpacked Mexican crafts and collectibles she planned to sell. Among her treasures were bits of pottery, small statues made of papier mache and ceramic, hand-blown glass and colorful, framed tapestries.
The brighter the colors, the better, said Quesada, who is from Dixon.
She said she’s a member of Conexion Comunidad and loves sharing her Mexican heritage with others, especially at events such as Saturday’s fiesta. It was the fiesta’s third year downtown, having outgrown its previous location.
“Sharing the culture and awareness is what makes DeKalb so awesome and so welcoming,” Quesada said.
Hispanic Heritage Month started Saturday and runs through Oct. 15.