Latino Night Informs and Entertains

By Jorge Castorena ’16

WILMORE, Ky. — There was food. There were performers. There were balloons, national flags and piñatas. Above all, there were people — around 250 of them. Latino Night, sponsored by Asbury University’s Latino Student Alliance (LSA), by all accounts, was a success.

Latino Night at Asbury University was a sure success!I’m so overwhelmed. It’s actually happening,” said, Paula Diaz, while shedding a few tears.

Honestly, I was in shock, too.

Paula and I serve on the LSA leadership council, with Cindy Palacios as our president. LSA is a student group that aims to bring students of Latino and Hispanic heritage together in community and fellowship, while bringing cultural enrichment to Asbury’s campus.

And so, with that aim in mind, we planned the University’s first Latino Night, which took place Oct. 12 in the Student Center.

At the birth of the idea, we really didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into.

The idea began as an outdoor festival, modeled after the Festival De Latino, Lexington Latino Festival. We envisioned a large area of booths representing all Latin American countries, with food, games, arts and crafts, music and a stage for performances. We were also hoping and planning to have sponsors for the event. We wanted it to be big and to make Asbury history.

We slowly discovered that achieving the above description for the event was more difficult than we thought. We began to hit walls and as time was running out, we became frustrated and discouraged.

After nearly canceling the event, in the nick of time and by the grace of God, we were able to come together and sort through the details for the event. We recalled our original purpose for the event: to give Asbury a taste of Latino culture.

We realized we needed to modify our vision for the event. After securing the location, it was time to form a schedule for the evening.

The result of our efforts was what brought about the “Latino Night.” Although smaller than what we had originally set out to accomplish, Latino Night came together and fulfilled its mission of bringing a taste of Latin American culture to campus. 

It was catered by La Casa de Jose, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Wilmore. The event offered face painting, horse rides, “La Loteria” (Mexican bingo), a raffle and a piñata breaking.

There were three performances: the night was opened by Aaron Ferral, an accordion player who sang Latino folk songs; he was followed by a mariachi, Jose Rivera; and Jane Potocki and Alexa Goins, two Asbury students, performed dance pieces together. Asbury’s own WACW played Latino music through the evening. 

The success of the night was a shock to those of us who over the course of the semester had spent so much time planning it. Many people who came to the event said that “it was so much fun” and that we “did a really good job” with it. 

Such responses were overwhelming, and because of the struggles in planning it, it was hard to believe – thanks to teamwork – that the event was pulled of, and pulled off well.

Now, we know the ropes, and no doubt, we will soon begin planning for the second-annual Latino Night. We are excited to bring a taste of Latin America to Asbury in the fall of 2014!

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