Students and community members around Northeastern Ohio work together to complete sawdust carpets. (Submitted photo)
New Philadelphia, Ohio - Kent State University at Tuscarawas is teaming up with Latino Cultural Connections and the Committee for the Celebration of Hispanic Heritage to present the second-annual Latino Festival this Saturday, September 29, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Founders Hall at Kent State Tuscarawas.
The free, family-friendly event will celebrate the art, games, food and culture of Guatemala and other Latino nations. This family-friendly event is free for all.
The Latino Festival will feature mixed media artist and Guatemalan native Hector Castellanos’ work with Alfombras de aserrin, sawdust carpets traditionally made at Easter time in Guatemala.
The carpets represent a strong tradition among Latino and Hispanic cultures but hold special significance for Guatemalans. Originally created to decorate the streets during religious processions, these artistic expressions continue to be a strong tradition among Mexicans and Central and South Americans. While their origin is religious in nature, Guatemalans have incorporated a lot of the Mayan culture depicting geometric figures and other symbols in the works of art.
This unique exhibit will bring a Guatemalan tradition to life in a way that allows attendees to help complete the sawdust carpets and share in the fun of creating art. The festival provides an opportunity to engage students, faculty and staff, families and the whole community in this unique tradition and in the rich Latino heritage.
Free lunch will be provided by Campesino's beginning at 11 a.m. The festival also features music, demonstrations, art projects, face painting and games for kids of all ages. A Guatemalan Independence Day Celebration and awards ceremony to honor distinguished students in the area will begin at noon in the Founders Hall auditorium.
The Latino Festival began last year as a collaboration between Kent State Tuscarawas and Latino Cultural Connections to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and the Latino community in Tuscarawas County.
Latino Cultural Connections is a local nonprofit advocacy group that offers after-school tutoring, cultural awareness, mentor groups, social outings and community meetings to help individuals reach their full potential as they strive for a higher quality of life.
Cheri Broknar is the library Director at Kent State University at Tuscarawas. She says the event has received widespread community support from the schools, churches, tiendas and local organizations.
“Our intent was to highlight the culture of our Guatemalan neighbors and give everyone a chance to share in the opportunity to learn more about their culture and our shared experience. We were able to put together an event that celebrates the unique diversity we have in Tuscarawas County,” she says.
Castellanos will set up prior to the event, and volunteers are needed to help beginning at 10 a.m. on the day of the festival. Anyone wishing to help set up the sawdust carpets should contact Bronkar at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-308.-456.
Kent State University at Tuscarawas is located at 330 University Drive NE in New Philadelphia.
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY AT TUSCARAWAS