The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday October 23rd

Fiesta Celebrates Cultural Diversity

La Fiesta del Pueblo celebrated Latin American culture with traditional foods, arts and exhibits from local organizations.

The young girl and her parents, Lydia Chang and Mark Peot, were three people of an estimated 44,000 who attended La Fiesta del Pueblo on Saturday.

The family spent their afternoon soaking in the sights and sounds of Latin American culture. The fiesta was held at Chapel Hill High School, and people from all backgrounds took part in the festivities.

The event, now in its eighth year, featured Latino music, food and cultural exhibitions in addition to a soccer tournament, a 10 kilometer road race and appearances by politicians.

The ambassador to the United States from El Salvador spoke to the crowds. Also in attendance were Chapel Hill Mayor Rosemary Waldorf; U.S. Reps. Bob Etheridge, D-N.C., and David Price, D-N.C.; N.C. Rep. Jennifer Weiss, D-Durham; N.C. Sen. Ellie Kinnaird., D-Orange; and Mary Easley, the wife of Gov. Mike Easley.

Fiesta officials have not yet announced Sunday's turnout.

But diversity was the mission and the accomplishment of El Pueblo, Inc., the event's organizer. Corporations set up booths beside traditional Latino food venders while service organizations shared space with artists and artisans.

William and Jackie Collins, an elderly couple from Farrington, said they made a point to come to the festival to take in the event's culture and uniqueness. "It makes a great contribution to the community," Jackie Collins said.

Muriel Williman, an education outreach specialist for Orange County Recycling, agreed the festival was an opportunity to improve the area. Williman worked to encourage recycling, material conservation and purchasing recycled materials. "We're just trying to reduce waste from going to the landfill and to educate about the landfill."

Tamara Dempsey-Tanner, working the fiesta for the Orange County Partnership for Young Children, also used the festival to promote community development. Her organization, which provides funding to children for early childhood education and care, came to the fiesta to reach local Hispanics. "We're an agency that also provides services to the Latino community, so we're trying to build name recognition," she said.

Meanwhile, Miguel Martinez, a photographer whose photographs celebrate the beauty of nature in his native Mexico, brought his art to the festival looking to promote and sell his pictures.

"I love the wildlife and the contact with nature," he said.

Nearby, Enrique Lopez set up shop with a different agenda. Lopez used the fiesta's progressive attitude to spread the word of the Bah

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