People of all cultures, north and south of the border, are welcome in Centennial Plaza
by: contributed photo by CITY OF SANDY During the 2010 Fiesta en la Plaza, Geraldo Calderon gave visitors to Centennial Plaza a concert of Spanish-influenced music. Calderon will return to this year’s fiesta, Saturday Aug. 27.

In about 10 days, local residents could be dancing, singing and sharing food and cultures with people whose heritage is south of the border.

But these people, with a culture as rich as this area's historical culture, also are local residents -neighbors.

The Fiesta en la Plaza - organized by the city of Sandy, Sandy Main Street and the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce - will begin at noon Saturday, Aug. 27, in Centennial Plaza, across Pioneer Boulevard from the Sandy City Hall.

The cultures of Latin America and America will share an open-air stage in a city built by the pioneers of North America.

The Sandy Main Street promotion committee has helped organize the drop-in-anytime festival with food from Sandy restaurants, craft vendors, activities for children and a variety of music and entertainment for the whole family.

Everyone is welcome

Bilingual Latina Olga Gerberg, a member of the Sandy City Council and the festival committee, said the event is designed for every member of each family.

'Vengan a celebrar con nosotros,' she said.

In English, she said 'Come celebrate with us.'

This year, Gerberg said, more cultures are being added to the mix, such as the American South, American country and urban America, as well as the cultures of a couple of states in Mexico and Cuba.

In Gerberg's words: 'Vengan a La Fiesta en la Plaza a disfrutar de musica, comidas típica y entretenimiento de America Latina y Estados Unidos de America.'

In English, Gerberg invites everyone to Sandy's festival to enjoy music, entertainment and food from Latin America and the United States.

Food as a culture

Food is planned from vendors who can share recipes of Italy, Mexico, United States and Asia.

Chili peppers are common to several cultures, Gerberg said, and have been prevalent in cooking for many centuries in both North and South America.

Peppers are fundamental in Mexican cuisine, used to prepare a variety of foods such as tamales, mole, salsa, chili rellenos and enchiladas.

'It's a basic condiment or spice to season all types of Mexican food,' she said. 'But it also has a positive effect on a person's health.'

No matter what your tastes are for Latin American food, come to the Fiesta for the Texas-influenced nachos or the Spanish-influenced churros. Both will be authentic.

Crafts and entertainment

In addition to food, the Fiesta will include craft vendors, an activity booth for children and booths for community groups.

These vendors and other cultural booths should interest many people, and all have been arranged by the city's event coordinator, Carol Cohen.

At 3:30 p.m., be sure to catch Gerardo Calderon, an accomplished musician who plays traditional tunes on guitar and other stringed instruments. Calderon loves to share his knowledge of folk music from Mexico and South America, along with his collection of folk instruments.

A special event at the Fiesta is La Danza de los Viejitos (Dance of the Old Men). The colorful costumes, face masks and other props produce a spectacular display of culture at its roots.

The evening will end with the exciting rhythms of Cuba as performed by Dina and Rumberos del Caribe.

For a fun-filled day, Gerberg suggests visiting Centennial Plaza in the afternoon or evening Saturday, Aug. 27.

'I hope people will plan to come and have fun,' she said, 'and make it a special day for the whole family.'

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