Spring means time for celebrating the fifth annual Fiesta in the Spirit of Cinco de Mayo at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. This year’s celebration will pay tribute to the artists of northwest Minnesota and takes place on Friday, April 12, beginning at 3:30 p.m. All activities are free and open to the public. The food, art, and entertainment will strive to adhere to the artistry, materials, and ingredients indigenous to the Mexican people.
From 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., there will be art demonstrations in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center; a Northwest Arts Exhibit in the Prairie Room and a Silent Auction in the Northern Lights Lounge, Sargeant Student Center; and a drum-making and rhythm activity for young children in the Eagles Nest, Sahlstrom Conference Center. The Drum Circle, led by Diane Lagasse, is designed for music lovers of many ages, but younger children must be accompanied by a parent. The two Drum Circle sessions are limited to 35 per session and take place in Owen Hall 270, one session at 4:30 and one at 5:30 p.m. This activity is also popular with junior and senior high age as well as adults.
Video presentations from Fresh Voices youth leadership students will take place every half hour in the Northern Lights Lounge. Crookston High School students will have an exhibit in the International Lounge.
From 4:30 to 7 p.m., a Mexican supper will be served in Brown Dining Room, followed at 7:30 p.m. by a performance of Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc, a professional dance and drumming group from St. Paul, Minn., in Kiehle Auditorium. The celebration concludes with a family dance from 9 until 11:30 p.m. in Bede Ballroom with a DJ from Z Martin Entertainment.
The art demonstrations will feature Crookston artists Irene Bertils working in chalk pastels; Trey Everett who uses words to create his art; and Mary Jane Doak, an artist who creates mosaics using a variety of materials. Joining these local artists will be fiber artist Sue Jacobson, from Fertile, Minn., and potter Karla Nelson from Grand Forks, N.D., who is an art teacher in the “Artists in the Classroom” program in the Grand Forks School District, and a teacher at Muddy Waters Clay Center. She will be making pottery and demonstrating the potter’s wheel. Also taking place simultaneously will be opportunities for children to use comparable art materials to create their own works of art.
The silent auction will to raise scholarship support for the Ramona Mendez Endowed Scholarship fund. The academic scholarship honors the memory of Ramona Mendez, a long time employee of UMC Facilities. Her son Kenneth is a graduate of the U of M, Crookston and a lead member of the fiesta planning committee. The scholarship was initiated during the 2011 "Fiesta in the Spirit of the Cinco de Mayo."
Page 2 of 2 - Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc (DMC) is a community of individuals and families that are dedicated to the preservation, promotion and practice of the Mexica/ Azteca culture including ceremonies, dance, accurate history, arts and craft, and philosophies. Fiesta organizers believe this troupe, with their dedication to the preservation, promotion, and sharing of the Mexican culture, reflects their own goal of providing quality artistic, cultural education for all who attend the Fiesta. To learn more about DMC, visit cuauhtemoc.org.
The fiesta is sponsored in part by a grant from the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council, which serves the seven counties located in the northwest corner of the state. The Arts Council receives funding from the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment from the Minnesota State Legislature. Other sponsors include the Crookston Convention and Visitors Bureau; Northwest Mental Health Center; Tri-Valley Opportunity Council; and Concerts and Lectures; Diversity and Multicultural Affairs; Career and Counseling Services; and the Coca Cola Community Initiative Fund at the U of M, Crookston.
The goal of the Cinco de Mayo celebration at the U of M, Crookston is to promote learning, understanding, and appreciation for the Mexican culture through traditional Mexican entertainment, crafts, and cuisine. The planning of the event includes students, faculty, staff from departments across the Crookston campus along with members of the Crookston community, and the Crookston High School VOICES Hispanic Youth Leadership group.