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Colorado State Campus Hosts Cinco De Mayo Festivities

Thursday, April 30, 1998

FORT COLLINS--Dynamic music, color, food, poetry and history are all part of the Colorado State University celebration of Cinco de Mayo 2-7 p.m. May 5 on the Lory Student Center West Lawn and Sutherland Garden.

"The celebration of this fiesta will provide an excellent opportunity for educating and sharing the cultural diversity in the Fort Collins and Colorado State University communities," said Rich Salas, the committee director for 16 years. "The event offers a positive experience that works toward better relations within our communities."

Students, staff and faculty make up Colorado State's Cinco de Mayo committee that has planned the day's events.

A schedule of events follows. Events are free and will be held on the Lory Student Center West Lawn.

2-2:10 p.m - Patricia Vigil, kick-off speech.

2:10 p.m. - Non-Prophet Poets. Poetry reading throughout the afternoon by students from Colorado State and the community.

2:15-2:45 p.m. - Grupo Alegria Estilo Cultural folkloric dance performance.

2:45-3 p.m. - Official welcome from Colorado State University President Albert C. Yates. Speech on history and education by Geraldine Aragon, director of academic advancement. Speech on the significance of the celebration by Ernie Chavez, psychology professor. Committee awards presentation.

3-3:45 p.m. - Grupo Aztlan concert.

3:45-4 p.m. - Norberto Valdez; speech about the battle at Puebla.

4-4:15 p.m. - Grupo Folklorico Flor Antigua youth group performance.

4:15-4:45 p.m. - Chaos concert.

4:45-6:15 p.m. - Latin Crossover Band concert and dance.

6:15-7:30 p.m. - Rayo concert, a tribute to Carlos Santana.

This year, the committee has started the tradition of celebrating Cinco de Mayo on campus with large-scale, inclusive activities. "It's not just for Latinos, Chicanos, or Hispanics," said Salas. "It's for everyone to learn about history and culture."

Salas pointed out that learning about diversity often takes place outside of the classroom with events like Disability Awareness Days, the Martin Luther King Jr. Walk and Cinco de Mayo festivities.

Salas added that beyond the food, fun and excitement, the event has a deeper meaning for all types of people. "We can look at the history, the battle at Puebla, which demonstrates that hard work and perseverance really do pay off in overcoming obstacles."

Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of May, is a day to celebrate a significant battle in Mexico's history. On May 5, 1862, 6,000 French soldiers and 2,000 allies began a march inland from the coast of Veracruz, expecting little resistance before a battle for Mexico City. They were surprised when they encountered 4,000 young Mexican soldiers in Puebla, just east of Mexico City. Although outnumbered, outgunned and inexperienced in battle, the Mexican army turned the French back and was able to preserve the capital city for another year. The battle remains a source of pride and inspiration, which will be commemorated in the United States and Mexico on May 5 with song, dance and festivities.

For more information, call Salas, the assistant director of El Centro, at (970) 491-5722.

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