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Library hosts Hispanic Heritage Month Fiesta – ‘We need to come together to understand one another’

LANSING, Ill. (September 26, 2023) – The Lansing Public Library kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month with a celebration to recognize the beauty of Hispanic culture. The Hispanic Heritage Fiesta took place in the parking lot of the library on Friday, September 22 from 6 – 8 p.m. The event was free and open to the public.

This is the second year the library has hosted this event, organizers said. Last year’s event featured live music and characters from the 2021 Disney film Encanto.

“This event is all about having a really good time,” said Andrew Harootunian, Adult Outreach Coordinator at the Lansing Public Library.

The two-hour celebration featured crafts, games, food, face painting, and music. Attendees sat at tables enjoying food, snacks, and beverages from El Encanto’s food truck, while listening to Latino music.

Food, snacks, and beverages were provided by the El Encanto food truck. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)
Hispanic Heritage
Face painting was one of the many activities offered at the event. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)
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Numbers were drawn on the pavement with chalk so children could play hopscotch. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)
The event included several activities for children, including jumbo Connect 4. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Some children played games such as jumbo Connect 4, while others played hopscotch. Several book displays were set up at the event selling discounted books.

The library hosted a raffle to give attendees a chance to win four tickets to Sugar Skull! A Día de Muertos Musical Adventure — a touring bilingual/bicultural musical for young audiences and families that uses traditional regional music and dance from Mexico to tell the story of 12-year-old Vita Flores.

Toward the end of the event, kids lined up to take a swing at a piñata.

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Children wait in line to get a swing at the piñata as Beth Bozzo, Director of Youth and Teen Services, gives instructions on how to play the game. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

National Hispanic Heritage month is celebrated from September 15 — October 15.

Community outreach

The event is a part of the library’s outreach initiative to bring the community together.

“We wanted to get everyone in the community together to indulge in the Latino culture, have some really good food and enjoy the music,” said Harootunian. “We need to come together to understand one another.”

People of all backgrounds attended the event to celebrate Hispanic culture and traditions.

Sharnea Harper, a Lansing resident, attended the event for the first time with her sister-in-law and children.

“[The event] is really nice and diverse,” she said. “I am really enjoying it.”

Friends of the Lansing Public Library sold books that had been donated for discounted books for $1, $2 and $3 dollars. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

Veronica Diaz, a native of Mexico who has been living in Lansing for a few years, attended the event to celebrate her heritage.

“[The event] is good and fun for [my] kids,” she said.

Various organizations such as Friends of Lansing Public Library and the Lansing Human Relations Commission were present at the event.

Valerie McDaniels, chairperson of the Lansing Human Relations Commission, had a table at the event giving away informational pamphlets and documents, pens, and candy. (Photo: Kinise Jordan)

The Lansing Public Library is located at 2750 Indiana Avenue.

Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan
Kinise Jordan brings local experience and a long list of journalism skills to her work with The Lansing Journal. She understands the need for reliable, factual information in equipping people to build community. An Audio News internship with WBEZ honed her interviewing skills and her sense of timing and deadlines. A native of Calumet City, Kinise is familiar with the interplay of local government, local schools, and local businesses.