News Column

Cinco de Mayo celebration key to LULAC's revival

May 3, 2014

By Jessica Onsurez, Carlsbad Current-Argus, N.M.

May 03--CARLSBAD -- A staple organization of the Carlsbad community is making a push to revitalize its presence in the community, starting with a proper Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Acting president of the Carlsbad Chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens will host live music and other entertainment on Sunday as part of the Cinco celebrations, hoping that the community's presence in the recently renamed Ray Anaya San Jose Plaza will inspire Hispanics in the community to get involved.

"The whole idea behind the park is upgrading it, including renaming it for Ray Anaya," said Alanzo. "We wanted to start renewing it and bring the liveliness back to San Jose Plaza."

The public is invited to join the celebration beginning at 8 a.m. in the plaza; entertainment will begin around 11 a.m.

The event will include live performances by a local mariachi group, the Black River Blues Band, Las Child Band and Proof Band. The annual and popular jalapeno eating contest will also be making a comeback this year, and the park will host several vendors for the day long celebration.

The annual parade will not be happening this year, as the council recognized the conflict in timing with Relay For Life, deciding instead to focus on a successful day long festival.

"This council serves the purpose of helping us to share our Hispanic culture and bring awareness that there are Hispanics who like to give back to our community," Alanzo said adding that while tradition is important incorporating fresh ideas is part of the strategy for attracting new blood to the 35 persons organization.

"The LULAC council was so unorganized in past years and now that I've taken over we wanted to make a push to getting back some enthusiasm," said Alanzo.

Future plans don't end with the traditional May and September festivals. The council is also looking into planning a Day of the Dead celebration and organizing fund raising within the community to continue to contribute to their youth program.

The youth program, headed by council Vice President Benny Anaya, son of the late Ray Anaya, will also be undergoing some changes. Currently the council provides activities and scholarships to its young members.

And the Ray Anaya San Jose Plaza will feature a strong role in helping the council unite the Hispanic community in Carlsbad.

"We want to make it a center of the community, a place people can make it their own," Alanzo said.

Alanzo said plans include upgrading the playground and seating areas to make them more welcoming to community members.

Reporter Jessica Onsurez may be reached at (575)491-4682.


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Source: Carlsbad Current-Argus (NM)

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