Wearing a traditional Oaxacan dress with white lace and a
green skirt, 7-year-old Cassie Tong took in the sights and sounds at the annual
Oaxacan Guelaguetza Festival.
The festival, held Sunday at Harbor High School, gives community members a chance to celebrate -- and learn about -- Oaxacan culture. It's a "really big party," Cassie said.
More than 1,000 people attended the daylong event, which included food, music, vendors and entertainment. Hosted by Vive Oaxaca, Indigenous Communities, Centeotl, Grupo de Danza y Baile de Santa Cruz, and the Santa Cruz City School District, the event focused on the pride and traditions of the state of Oaxaca, located in the south of Mexico.
As trumpets blared and people danced on stage, visitors purchased jewelry, clothing and figures while snacking on fruit and juice.
"From the dancing to the music, it's tradition," said Jose Cruz, a vendor at the event. "It's important to start celebrating the culture."
Cruz also passed out fliers and spoke about Yo Soy 132, a political student movement focusing on democracy and the media. Cruz, a San Francisco resident, said the event was an ideal time to share his message.
"I think right now, it's an important time to communicate," Cruz said.
Shulei and Travis Flippen sold jewelry from their charity organization OrganicARTS, a Santa Cruz business that supports Huichol indigenous families who are creating bracelets, necklaces and
earrings. They donated 30 percent of Sunday's profits to the festival.
The couple first came up with the idea of selling Huichol jewelry when they saw original beaded pieces in Puerto Vallarta.
"I fell in love with it and said, 'Why don't we help these people?' " said Shulei, who lives in Royal Oaks with her husband.
They also enjoy sharing the traditional art of the Huichol people, who come from western-central Mexico, with Santa Cruzans.
"It's been good today, and it really picked up in the afternoon," Shulei said.
(c)2013 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.)
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