Culture

An exploration of Hispanic Heritage

Students enjoy authentic Mexican food while at the festival

Story by Grace DeLong, Reporter

Photos courtesy of Grace DeLong

The Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion brought students to the Grand Haven Hispanic Heritage Fiesta. This fiesta is in honor of Hispanic Heritage month. The fiesta is hosted by the Tri Cities Puentes Initiative. The goal of this fiesta was to bring the community together and give cultural understanding. 

It was a perfect warm fall day with the sun shining. The students got to see the parade of flags, dancers, and the mariachi band Son de Mexico along with eating authentic Mexican food from food trucks. The festival  also put together a collector car show. Elena of Avalor, the princess, was there to take pictures with.

This trip gave students a chance to get out of Grand Rapids for the day.  The students went on the last day of the festival because Saturday had the most activities going on. There were all kinds of food trucks to choose from. Lots of local businesses and nonprofit organizations came out to spread the word about their business and be a part of the community. 

They had dance groups of all ages, and for a short period of time held dance lessons for people in the audience. It was impossible to not want to get up and dance with the girls. Liz Sherwood shared her favorite part, “ I loved hearing the live music after being stuck inside for a year due to COVID”. I agree it was also my first live music experience since COVID first came and it was refreshing. 

Hispanic dancers perform on stage in front of a captivated audience.

The Grand Haven community was welcoming to all of the attendees. The group got to shop at the market that was set up. One booth had beautiful bracelets, headbands, bags, earrings, candy skulls, skeleton statues and more. When talking to the guy working the booth we found out their store is located in Wyoming. The name of the shop is called Guelaguetza Designs, and they specialize in handmade items that represent their Mexican culture. I picked out an alebrije, which is a brightly painted fantastical creature from Mexican folk art. On their website you can find all their wonderful handmade items and read the profile of the person that created it. The mariachi band was excellent; the group was sad to leave as the band played on. The group had a great time learning about hispanic culture, listening to mariachi music, and dancing along with the dancers.